Static and dynamic performance during precision fine motor tracking

Gottlich, Samantha
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Studies of static and dynamic motor control have a long research history. In most cases, studies have focused on one condition or the other. However, it is important to determine whether differences exist between the two types of task, especially when used in conjunction with task performance. Video game controllers, motorized wheel chairs, steering wheels, and robotic surgical equipment are all examples of how modern equipment uses static and dynamic motor control to achieve task performance goals. To this end, this study aimed to examine possible differences in accuracy or consistency of performance between static and dynamic variations of a precision fine motor tracking task. Nineteen healthy, right-handed volunteer participants were asked to manipulate a cursor to track a moving target with both index fingers, using a static control method in one task and a dynamic control method in another task. The cursor was to follow as closely as possible a target traveling along a diagonal line and back. The control methods were tested during two different testing sessions to reduce confounding of the task conditions. After 50 practice trials in a condition, 5 test trials were recorded. Two dependent variables, RMSE and CVE, were used to represent task performance as indicators of accuracy and consistency, respectively. Analyses of variance with a Latin Square design were used to compare overall performance of each dependent variable between the two conditions. Results showed a significant difference in both variables with p-values less than .001; tracking accuracy was better on the static task and cursor motion consistency was better on the dynamic task. These findings suggest that performance aspects of a fine motor control task does vary with control method and can be used to aid equipment design and task performance in the future.