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Swati Shenoy and Alexander S. Aruin

The objective of this study was to determine if a forward-tilted seat and the resultant semi-kneeling body position associated with sitting on the Balans Multi Chair (BMC) affect postural control in sitting. Nine healthy subjects were seated on either the BMC or a regular (REG) chair with their arms extended. They were instructed to induce self-initiated body perturbations in four different directions by exerting brief pulses of force against a stationary frame positioned in front of them. Electromyographic (EMG) activities of trunk and leg muscles were recorded before and during the perturbations. The results show that sitting on both types of chairs was associated with anticipatory activation of trunk and upper leg muscles. In contrast, anticipatory activation of distal muscles was observed while sitting only on the REG chair and was absent while sitting on the BMC. The outcome of the study suggests that although the forward-tilting seat and semi-kneeling body position might help in preserving a normal lordosis, it is not associated with anticipatory activation of lower leg muscles, which might reduce the ability of an individual to counteract self-initiated body perturbations. These findings stress the important role of chair designs in the control of sitting posture.

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Janna M. Gottwald

This article critically reviews kinematic measures of prospective motor control. Prospective motor control, the ability to anticipatorily adjust movements with respect to task demands and action goals, is an important process involved in action planning. In manual object manipulation tasks, prospective motor control has been studied in various ways, mainly using motion tracking. For this matter, it is crucial to pinpoint the early part of the movement that purely reflects prospective (feed-forward) processes, but not feedback influences from the unfolding movement. One way of defining this period is to rely on a fixed time criterion; another is to base it flexibly on the inherent structure of each movement itself. Velocity—as one key characteristic of human movement—offers such a possibility and describes the structure of movements in a meaningful way. Here, I argue for the latter way of investigating prospective motor control by applying the measure of peak velocity of the first movement unit. I further discuss movement units and their significance in motor development of infants and contrast the introduced measure with other measures related to peak velocity and duration.

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Shohei Shibata, Yuki Inaba, Shinsuke Yoshioka and Senshi Fukashiro

delay. Finger torque can be viewed as a consequence of feed-forward adjustments from the CNS ( Ambike, Paclet, Latash, & Zatsiorsky, 2013 ). From these results, to stabilize release timing, the CNS seems to have synchronized the wrist torque and finger torque by feed-forward adjustments. Conversely

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Kristof Kipp, John Krzyszkowski and Daniel Kant-Hull

was calculated only for major compound exercises (ie, clean and back squat). Statistical Analysis A feed-forward ANN was used to model the association between the VL and changes in CMJ performance (Figure  1 ). Weekly VLs from the 15 training weeks were used as predictor variables in the input layer

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C. Buz Swanik, Scott M. Lephart, Frank P. Giannantonio and Freddie H. Fu

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury disrupts static and dynamic knee restraints, compromising functional stability. Deafferentation of ACL mechan-oreceptors alters the spinal reflex pathways to motor nerves and muscle spindles in addition to the cortical pathways for conscious and unconscious appreciation of proprioception and kinesthesia. These pathways are required by the feed-forward and feedback neuromuscular control systems to dynamically stabilize joints. Feed-forward motor control is responsible for preparatory muscle activity, while feedback motor control regulates reactive muscle activity. The level of muscle activation, preparatory or reactive, influences muscular stiffness, thereby providing dynamic restraint for the ACL-deficient athlete. Rehabilitation protocols should incorporate activities that enhance muscle stiffness while encouraging adaptations to peripheral afferents, spinal reflexes, and cortical motor patterns. Four elements crucial for reestablishing neuromuscular control and functional stability are proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness, dynamic stability, preparatory and reactive muscle characteristics, and conscious and unconscious functional motor patterns.

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Rahul Marwaha, Susan J. Hall, Christopher A. Knight and Slobodan Jaric

The aim of the study was to reveal specific aspects of impaired hand function in mildly affected multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Static manipulation tasks were tested in 13 mildly impaired (EDSS 1.5-4) MS patients and 13 age and gender matched controls. The tasks were based either on presumably visually (i.e., feedback) controlled tracing of depicted patterns of load force (LF; produced by symmetric bimanual tension and/or compression applied against an externally fixed device) or on predominantly feed-forward controlled amplitudes of sinusoidal patterns of LF. The task variables (based on accuracy of exerting the required LF pattern) suggested poor performance of MS subjects in feedback, but not in the feed-forward controlled tasks. The patients also revealed higher GF/LF ratio in all tasks. However, the coordination of GF and LF appeared to be comparable in the two groups. These results continue to support the chosen experimental paradigm and suggest that in mildly affected MS patients, sensorimotor deficits and overgripping precede the decoupling of grip and load forces observed in more severely affected patients.

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Halla B. Olafsdottir, Sun Wook Kim, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and Mark L. Latash

We tested the ability of healthy elderly persons to use anticipatory synergy adjustments (ASAs) prior to a self-triggered perturbation of one of the fingers during a multifinger force production task. An index of a force-stabilizing synergy was computed reflecting covariation of commands to fingers. The subjects produced constant force by pressing with the four fingers of the dominant hand on force sensors against constant upwardly directed forces. The middle finger could be unloaded either by the subject pressing the trigger or unexpectedly by the experimenter. In the former condition, the synergy index showed a drop (interpreted as ASA) prior to the time of unloading. This drop started later and was smaller in magnitude as compared with ASAs reported in an earlier study of younger subjects. At the new steady state, a new sharing pattern of the force was reached. We conclude that aging is associated with a preserved ability to explore the flexibility of the mechanically redundant multifinger system but a decreased ability to use feed-forward adjustments to self-triggered perturbations. These changes may contribute to the documented drop in manual dexterity with age.

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Stacey L. Gorniak, Marcos Duarte and Mark L. Latash

We explored possible effects of negative covariation among finger forces in multifinger accurate force production tasks on the classical Fitts’s speed-accuracy trade-off. Healthy subjects performed cyclic force changes between pairs of targets “as quickly and accurately as possible.” Tasks with two force amplitudes and six ratios of force amplitude to target size were performed by each of the four fingers of the right hand and four finger combinations. There was a close to linear relation between movement time and the log-transformed ratio of target amplitude to target size across all finger combinations. There was a close to linear relation between standard deviation of force amplitude and movement time. There were no differences between the performance of either of the two “radial” fingers (index and middle) and the multifinger tasks. The “ulnar” fingers (little and ring) showed higher indices of variability and longer movement times as compared with both “radial” fingers and multifinger combinations. We conclude that potential effects of the negative covariation and also of the task-sharing across a set of fingers are counterbalanced by an increase in individual finger force variability in multifinger tasks as compared with single-finger tasks. The results speak in favor of a feed-forward model of multifinger synergies. They corroborate a hypothesis that multifinger synergies are created not to improve overall accuracy, but to allow the system larger flexibility, for example to deal with unexpected perturbations and concomitant tasks.

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Bethany Wisthoff, Shannon Matheny, Aaron Struminger, Geoffrey Gustavsen, Joseph Glutting, Charles Swanik and Thomas W. Kaminski

, because these ligaments are a rich source of mechanoreceptors, feed-forward neuromuscular control could be impaired resulting in gait alterations in those with chronic laxity. 8 Laxity, or objective mechanical ankle instability (MAI), can last from 6 weeks to 1 year after injury, with some cases

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Donna L. Goodwin and Janice Causgrove Dunn

epistemology of ignorance that can prevent us from widening views of our field in the broader world. Dr. Szostak notes that some APA researchers consciously (or nonconsciously) already draw on different disciplines (theories and literature bases) that can feed forward insights to other disciplines. The author