Age and gender effect on human tactile perception, in vivo


The human finger is exquisitely sensitive in perceiving different materials. The obtained information is totally dependent to skin deformation as resulting of finger and object’s contact. The objectives are to better understand the age and gender effects on contact and mechanical properties of the human finger with in vivo systems.

Two in vivo studies on the finger of 40 subjects (20 of each gender) of four age groups of 26±3, 35+-3, 45+-2 and 58±6 have been performed.
An indentation method is used to measure the finger contact properties in normal direction. The penetration depth of a rigid indenter is recorded as a function of the applied normal force, during a loading/unloading experiment. Main assessed parameters are Young modulus and adhesive force.
An innovative approach is proposed to characterize the dynamic finger mechanical properties. A contactless air blast device to measure human skin mechanical properties in vivo has been developed. Main assessed parameters are wave propagation speed v and Young's modulus.

The indentation test permits to understand the finger and object contact. The obtained adhesive forces characterize the physicochemical properties of this contact, are varied between 3 to 12 mN.
Significant differences of the main dynamic parameters of air blast system are shown with ageing and gender.
The comparison between male and female groups reveals that the parameters are higher of 9% for speed and 17% for Young modulus, for women. The measurements show also an increase of the speed and Young modulus with ageing (young men: v=3.2+-0.2m/s; old men: v=3.6±0.3m/s).

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Financement ANR -14-CE27-0013-02 

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