Biophysical properties of the human finger for touch comprehension
Influences of ageing and gender
The human finger plays an extremely important role in tactile perception, but little is known about how age and gender affect its biophysical properties and their role in tactile perception. We combined studies on contact characteristics, mechanical properties and surface topography to understand age and gender effects on the human finger. The values obtained regarding contact characteristics (i.e. adhesive force) were significantly higher for women than for men. As for mechanical properties (i.e. Young's modulus E), a significant and positive correlation with age was observed and found to be higher for women. A positive correlation was observed between age and the arithmetic mean of surface roughness for men. However, an inverse age effect was highlighted for women. The age and gender effects obtained have never been reported previously in the literature. These results open new perspectives for understanding the weakening of tactile perception across ages and how it differs between men and women.