Neuromechanics of a Button Press

Antti Oulasvirta, Sunjun Kim, Byungjoo Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
175 Downloads (Pure)


To press a button, a finger must push down and pull up with the right force and timing. How the motor system succeeds in button-pressing, in spite of neural noise and lacking direct access to the mechanism of the button, is poorly understood. This paper investigates a unifying account based on neuromechanics. Mechanics is used to model muscles controlling the finger that contacts the button. Neurocognitive principles are used to model how the motor system learns appropriate muscle activations over repeated strokes though relying on degraded sensory feedback. Neuromechanical simulations yield a rich set of predictions for kinematics, dynamics, and user performance and may aid in understanding and improving input devices. We present a computational implementation and evaluate predictions for common button types.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5620-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018
Conference number: 36


ConferenceACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI
Internet address


  • Buttons
  • input devices
  • neuromechanics
  • perceptual control
  • control theory
  • probabilistic motor control
  • input engineering


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  • COMPUTED: Computational User Interface Design

    Feit, A., Oulasvirta, A., Todi, K., Dayama, N., Koch, J., Nancel, M., Brückner, L., Liao, Y., Shiripour, M., Leiva, L., Nioche, A. & Kim, S.


    Project: EU: ERC grants

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