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Swift
2009-Mar-05, 04:28 AM
From the 28 Feb issue of Science News (http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/40376/title/Fingerprints_filter_the_vibrations_fingers_feel)

The intricate patterns of swirls on human fingers may do more than help cops nab crooks. A study online January 29 in Science helps crack the case of fingerprints’ real job: Epidermal ridges, fingerprints’ professional name, likely serve as filters to help in the efficient detection of fine textures.

Very cool research, done by creating artifical sensors with and without artifical fingerprints. They even explain the swirls.

geonuc
2009-Mar-05, 10:30 AM
Interesting. But I wonder if some patterns really are just slightly more efficient than others, giving those persons an enhanced sense of touch?

Science News is a great resource.

NEOWatcher
2009-Mar-05, 01:09 PM
Interesting. But I wonder if some patterns really are just slightly more efficient than others, giving those persons an enhanced sense of touch?
They did say "doesn't seem to have an effect", so maybe there's still something not yet detected.

The next step would be to figure out what significance to the lower frequencies have on touch. It's interesting, but at this point I'm not sure it's not just a coincedence that it happens.

nauthiz
2009-Mar-05, 05:52 PM
Don't the epidermal ridges also improve our ability to grasp objects?

I notice that it seems to take appreciably more force to slide the palm of my hand across a table than it does to slide the back of my hand across it.

NEOWatcher
2009-Mar-05, 06:36 PM
Don't the epidermal ridges also improve our ability to grasp objects?
Yes;
And; that would have been my other comment about the article.


"The functional role of fingerprints has remained something of a mystery,” says Sliman Bensmaia, a neuroscientist

I never knew it was a mystery.

geonuc
2009-Mar-05, 06:45 PM
Although the notion is not absurd by any means, I'm not sure fingerprints help with grasping objects - I'd have to see some substantiation of that. And the difference between sliding your hand across a surface palm side up or down seems more to do with hand structure than skin.

Swift
2009-Mar-05, 06:49 PM
Although the notion is not absurd by any means, I'm not sure fingerprints help with grasping objects - I'd have to see some substantiation of that. And the difference between sliding your hand across a surface palm side up or down seems more to do with hand structure than skin.
I agree with both of those statements. I've heard the notion that it helps with gripping, but I'd like some proof (this isn't CT/ATM - that's a just a casual comment). If they were only to help gripping, I wouldn't assume that their current structure would actually be best. And this report was the first time I've heard the notion about sensory benefits.

Fazor
2009-Mar-05, 07:57 PM
I too assumed they were to help grip, as many animals use the principle of "expanded surface area". Or so I always thought.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Mar-05, 07:59 PM
I too assumed they were to help grip, as many animals use the principle of "expanded surface area". Or so I always thought.

If you are taking a physiology test, and are asked the function of some particular anatomical feature, if you don't know the answer guess "it increases the surface area."

Nick

JohnD
2009-Mar-06, 12:52 PM
It annoys me when a popular science article is about some research, refers to the research and even says it's online, and then doesn't include a link! So if anyone else is as anal as me, here's the link: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1166467
Only an absstract,but anyway.

I wanted to read how fine the detection achieved was. The abstract doesn't say, but it quotes the human perceptive limit as 200micrometers. That's equivalant to about eight 'thou'(sandths of an inch), whereas I was told by an expert vehical bodybuilder that the trained finger tip can feel ONE thou.

John