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.