Guillaume Duprez
PhD student
Ir. at UCLouvain in 2020 and 2021

Main project: Advanced modeling of the deformation of a finger with the aim to better understand tactile perception
Funding: FSR
Supervisor(s): Laurent Delannay

Where does the sense of touching come from? How does the brain determine the force which should be exerted in order to avoid that an object slips between our fingers? What is the role of the finger print? Based on an original modeling of the biomechanics of a finger, this project aims to address some important questions raised in the field of neurosciences and of tactile perception. In particular, we will study the transitions between static contact and sliding when one of our fingers hinges on a rigid surface. The challenge is to predict strains at the interface between epiderm and derm, which is where we find the mechanosensors that are at the origin of neuronal stimuli used by the brain in order to command muscular activity. The finite element modeling, which will account for the physiology of the finger, and actually also of the finger print, should also help establishing the link between the hyperelastic rigidity of biological tissues and the evolution of the coefficient of friction. Results of finite element simulations will be compared to experimental measures obtained using a device which has been elaborated at UCL over the last decade. Our goal is to ensure that the mechanistic model to be developed here contributes to a greatly enriched evaluation of the neuronal signals recorded during the experiments.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Biomedical engineering
Processing and characterisation of materials
Solid mechanics

finite elements

Research group(s): MEMA