NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have found that the availability of both visual and haptic information for a target object significantly improves reach-to-grasp actions, demonstrating that the nervous system utilizes both types of information to optimize movement execution. The findings are featured in the journal Scientific Reports.
NYU Abu Dhabi Assistant Professor of Psychology Robert Volcic and Postdoctoral Associate Ivan Camponogara compared participants' grasping movements towards an object sensed through visual, haptic, or visuo-haptic signals using special sensors capable of measuring hand and fingers movement in real-time.
When movements were based on haptic information only, hand pre-shaping was initiated earlier, fingers closed on the object more slowly, and the final phase was more cautious compared to movements based on only visual information. Instead, the simultaneous availability of vision and haptics led to faster movements and to an overall decrease of the grip aperture.
"Our findings also show that each modality contributes to a different extent in different phases of the movement, with haptics being more crucial in the initial phases and vision being more important for the final on-line control," said Volcic. "We confirmed that vision and haptics can be flexibly combined to optimize the execution of grasping movement."
About NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity's shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi's high-achieving students have come from 120 nations and speak over 120 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.