Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA) - 07.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA) examines the way hand and arm muscles are used differently during grasping and reaching tasks in weightlessness. Measurements are compared to those taken before and after flight to improve understanding of the effects of long-duration space flight on muscle fatigue.

Science Results for Everyone

Space travellers become monkey-like in space, using their hands and arms much more than they do back on Earth. This makes upper limb performance vital, especially on long-term missions.  The Hand Posture Analyzer investigation measures motion and force on hands, wrists, and forearms before and after space flight. The data were combined with that from other expeditions and a preliminary version of the same hardware used during an earlier mission to assess short- and long-term effects of weightlessness on upper limb performance. This could lead to better design of devices and tools used in space and may prove useful for treating injury and disease on Earth.



This content was provided by Valfredo Zolesi, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Valfredo Zolesi, Ph.D., Kayser Italia Srl., Livorno, Italy

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Francesco Lacquaniti, M.D., University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
  • Federico Posteraro, M.D., Hospital Versilia, Lucca, Italy
  • Paolo Pastacaldi, M.D., Hospital S. Chiara, Pisa, Italy

  • Developer(s)
    Italian Space Agency (ASI), Rome, , Italy

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Italian Space Agency (ASI)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    April 2003 - April 2008

    Expeditions Assigned
    7,8,11,16

    Previous ISS Missions
    CHIRO experiment in April 2002 during the taxi flight Soyuz TM34. Also performed during Increments 7 and 8.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA) system is designed to collect kinematic and force data on human upper limbs (hands, wrists and forearms) onboard the International Space Station (ISS).


    • Kinematics is the science of motion. In human movement, it is the study of the positions, angles, velocities, and accelerations of body segments and joints during motion.


    • The kinematic studies on the movement of the hand and wrist in microgravity, collected while manipulating both virtual and concrete objects, is researched to assess the approaching, reaching, and grasping mechanics of the hand and fingers without the effect of gravity.


    • Also, a fatigue assessment of the forearm is done to determine how the control of grip force is affected by the exposure to weightlessness.

    Description

    The Hand Posture Analyzer (HPA) examined how hand and arm muscles are used differently during grasping and reaching tasks in weightlessness by collecting kinematic and force data on astronaut’s upper limbs (hands, wrists and forearms). Three different sets of data were collected: preflight, in-flight and postflight. The measurements involved the crew member manipulating both virtual and concrete objects, is researched to assess the approaching, reaching, and grasping mechanics of the hand and fingers without the effect of gravity.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    This investigation provides information on performance modification of the muscular system during long stays in microgravity, and the characterization of motion strategies and postural behavior of the human body in weightlessness. Results may lead to the optimization of constructive criteria in the design of orbital modules, devices, and tools for use in space.

    Earth Applications

    Data from the investigation contribute to the development of new methods, protocols, and instruments for the study and treatment of upper limb problems on Earth.

     

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    The Mental Imagery of Gravity Effects on Object Motion investigation consists of bouncing an imaginary tennis ball off of the ceiling (overhead racks) in the Lab module and catching the ball. The initial position for holding the ball is with the arm straight down by the crewmembers side. To toss the ball, bend the arm approximately 90 degrees and release the ball. Imagine the speed with which the ball travels as it moves up to the ceiling of the module then returns to your hand. At the point in time that you think the ball would return to your hand, "catch" the ball and hold that position until the software prompts you to prepare for the next toss.

    Operational Protocols

    HPA operations consist of the hardware setup, performance of the four protocols, and the disassembly of the hardware.

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    Results/More Information

    The HPA was launched to ISS on 12 Progress in August 2003. It was performed during Expeditions 7 and 8 on ISS; data from six HPA sessions were collected during Expedition 7 from one crewmember; two preflight collections, two in-flight collections, and two postflight collections. At the end of Expedition 10, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Roberto Vittori performed in-flight data collection with the HPA hardware. These data are being combined with data from the preliminary version of the same hardware (CHIRO) that was used on board ISS during an earlier “Marco Polo” mission with astronaut Roberto Vittori in 2002. Together, these experiments assessed the short- and long-term effects of weightlessness on upper limb performance. (Evans et al. 2009)

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
    ESA Human Spaceflight

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    Imagery

    image NASA Image: - The Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori, from the Taxi Flight Soyuz TM34 in 2002, uses the hand grip dynamometer to test the muscle fatigue of the forearm.
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    image Video Screen Shot of ISS Science Officer, Ed Lu, during ISS Expedition 7 performing the HPA activity. Image courtesy of NASA.
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    image NASA Image ISS008E21614 - ISS Science Officer, Mike Foale performing the HPA investigation during Expedition 8, using the hand grip dynamometer to test the muscle fatigue of the forearm.
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    image NASA Image ISS008E21605 - NASA Science Officer Mike Foale, during ISS Expedition 8 using hand/wrist position tracking via hand posture acquisition glove, during HPA operations.
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