took to trace each circle, and the "tracing error," or distance between the drawn circle and the target circle. Participants traced shapes of three diameters: 0.3-inch circles, which could be drawn with finger motion and without the handrest; 1.6-inch circles, which required motion of the whole hand; and arcs with radii of 3.9 inches, requiring the handrest to move across the workspace.
In terms of precision, the difference between controlling the handrest by position and by force was insignificant, but more people preferred controlling it by the force they exerted. It felt more intuitive.
Provancher also showed that controlling the handrest only with force exerted by the hand was just as effective as controlling it using both the hand's force and position.
The experiments also showed the Active Handrest was most precise if its speed was limited to 0.2 inches per second and its acceleration limited to about one-twentieth of acceleration of an object falling due to gravity.
The optimum speed "is still fast compared to rates at which a surgeon would conduct an operation," Provancher says, noting that "if someone is going to use this to do surgery on your eye, you don't want them moving too fast."
In the study's final experiment, the Active Handrest was compared with fixed hand support, fixed elbow support and no support.
Sixteen participants traced circles or arcs displayed on a computer screen. They did each of three sizes of circle or arc four times, for a total of 12 tracings, while using the Active Handrest. For each alternative form of support, they also did 12 tracings, for a total of 48. The entire test took about 45 minutes. The findings:
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- There was no significant difference, when drawing the smallest circle, among the four types of support. That was expected because people could draw such a small circle without m
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