Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Spiral tracing on a touchscreen is influenced by age, hand, implement, and friction

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2-1-2018


Dexterity impairments are well documented in older adults, though it is unclear how these influence touchscreen manipulation. This study examined age-related differences while tracing on high- and low-friction touchscreens using the finger or stylus. 26 young and 24 older adults completed an Archimedes spiral tracing task on a touchscreen mounted on a force sensor. Root mean square error was calculated to quantify performance. Root mean square error increased by 29.9% for older vs. young adults using the fingertip, but was similar to young adults when using the stylus. Although other variables (e.g., touchscreen usage, sensation, and reaction time) differed between age groups, these variables were not related to increased error in older adults while using their fingertip. Root mean square error also increased on the low-friction surface for all subjects. These findings suggest that utilizing a stylus and increasing surface friction may improve touchscreen use in older adults.