Journal of Neurophysiology

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Probing with and into Fingerprints

Ravinder S. Dahiya, Monica Gori


Recent report by Scheibert et al. highlights the role of fingerprints in enhancing tactile sensitivity. By scanning a surface with a biomimetic force sensor they demonstrate the dominance of the frequencies that fall within the optimal sensitivity range of Pacinian afferents. The sensor, in this study, has a soft cover patterned with parallel ridges - mimicking the fingerprints. However, the skin structure is quite complex. Elasticity of the skin varies with depth and the ridge like pattern comprises of not just papillary ridges or fingerprints. Besides fingerprints there exist intermediate ridges, positioned exactly under the papillary ridges, and limiting ridges at dermis-epidermis junction. These structures are usually considered as single unit. If so, it is important to revisit and see if the role of fingerprints remains same, should the sensor cover have both fingerprints and intermediate ridges.

  • Papillary ridges
  • Skin
  • Ridge structure
  • Tactile sensor