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A high-tech handrest
Date:3/8/2010

ingers and be very precise."

For example, if a person places their arm on a desk to write, their hand is able to move the pen about 4 inches in any direction, but precise writing is practical only within a 1-inch wide "dexterous workspace," he says.

The existing prototype of the Active Handrest lets a user move their hand precisely within a workspace of about 10 by 10 inches, re-centering the hand as the arm moves to reach a larger area. But future devices could allow for three-dimensional motion and even larger work areas with the same precision, Provancher says.

Use of the Active Handrest also means "less fatigue, and if you have fatigue, you are going to have tremor associated with that," meaning less precision.

Provancher (pronounced pro-von-chur) conducted the research with University of Utah mechanical engineering doctoral students Mark Fehlberg and Brian Gleeson, and Levi Leishman, a summer undergraduate researcher. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation.

Inspired by Leonardo on TV

Provancher came up with the idea for the Active Handrest while watching a television show about famed painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci. The actor portraying da Vinci was painting while using a simple handrest a stick with a cloth ball on each end that spanned the canvas. So Provancher started thinking about devising a handrest that moves to allow painting over a large workspace.

People often try to increase their precision when doing manual tasks by bracing their wrist or arm against a fixed object. Over the years, there have been many devices to help: wrist rests used when typing or operating a computer mouse, repositionable braces for artists painting fine detail on a large canvas, and repositionable supports for typists.

More recently, research devices have bee
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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

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