Force sensors are incorporated in an ergonomically designed tool allowing precision measurement of finger movements. The tool is coupled with specific exercises for evaluation of key components of manual dexterity. This approach allows measurement of multiple neurological hand motor impairments and provides patient-specific profiles of impairment.
The key sensorimotors components of manual dexterity are tested in 5 exercises
1) Force control task. This visuomotor task tests the ability to generate and control finger forces accurately and with correct timing and indicates sensorimotor integration and visuospatial attention capacities
2) Maximal finger tapping. This task tests maximal tapping speed and indicates maximal motor output.
3) Rhythm tapping. This audio motor task tests ability to perform finger tapping at set frequencies with and without feedback indicating movement timing and working memory capacities.
4) Sequence finger tapping. This task tests ability to learn and memorize a finger tapping sequence indicating learning and short-term memory capacity.
5) Multi-finger tapping. This task tests ability to perform individuated finger taps in response to visual cues and indicates individuated finger movement and motor inhibition capacities.
For dexterity assessment: The above tasks are proposed together for multi-component assessment. Performance results, of each separate task, are automatically calculated and reported. A detailed summary of results is also provided at the end of testing of all tasks.
For dexterity training: A specific programme is tailored to the individual depending on results from measurement session. This personalized training programme will focus on improving sensorimotor control components through high intensity use in motivating exercises. The games are designed to be motivating and engaging with adaptable difficulty levels. A track record of performance allows follow-up of performance over time.
The tablet-based application is user-friendly touch-screen tool allowing assessment of multiple sensorimotor components of manual dexterity. Tasks were developed based on previous knowledge obtained from research studies using the Dextrain Manipulandum.
The six tasks include:
1) Finger recognition task. The subject performs a finger-tap on the screen in response to a target shown on a virtual hand which changes position during testing. This task tests sensorimotor integration including body scheme and mental rotation ability.
2) Rhythm task. The subject taps with one finger with and without auditory cues. This task assesses timing,regularity and short-term memory.
3) Finger sequence tapping task. The subject performs a sequential order of finger taps according to visual cues. This task assesses learning and short-term memory.
4) Maximal finger tapping task. This task tests maximal tapping speed and indicates maximal motor output.
5) Multi-finger tapping. The subject performs individuated finger taps in response to visual cues. This task assesses individuated finger movement and motor inhibition capacities.
6) Line-tracking task. The subject follows a line trajectory on the screen as fast and accurately as possible. This task also allows testing of combined motor and cognitive tasks (so called dual-tasking). This task assesses sensorimotor integration, divided attention and working memory.