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Marcos Rodrigo Trindade Pinheiro Menuchi and Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

Locomotion generates a visual movement pattern characterized as optic flow. To explore how the locomotor adjustments are affected by this pattern, an experimental paradigm was developed to eliminate optic flow during obstacle avoidance. The aim was to investigate the contribution of optic flow in obstacle avoidance by using a stroboscopic lamp. Ten young adults walked on an 8m pathway and stepped over obstacles at two heights. Visual sampling was determined by a stroboscopic lamp (static and dynamic visual sampling). Three-dimensional kinematics data showed that the visual information about self-motion provided by the optic flow was crucial for estimating the distance from and the height of the obstacle. Participants presented conservative behavior for obstacle avoidance under experimental visual sampling conditions, which suggests that optic flow favors the coupling of vision to adaptive behavior for obstacle avoidance.

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Chanel T. LoJacono, Ryan P. MacPherson, Nikita A. Kuznetsov, Louisa D. Raisbeck, Scott E. Ross, and Christopher K. Rhea

. Obstacles may also be dynamic and require a sudden adaptation, such as a ball rolling or an animal running into the gait path. The ability to avoid such obstacles is a crucial part of safe ambulation. High success rates of obstacle avoidance are due to an individual’s ability to modify their limb trajectory

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Jonathan Vaughan, David A. Rosenbaum, and Ruud G. J. Meulenbroek

In this article, we review a model of the movement-planning processes that people use for direct reaching, reaching around obstacles, and grasping, and we present observations of subjects' repeated movements of the hand to touch 2 target locations, circumventing an intervening obstacle. The model defines an obstacle as a posture that, if adopted, would intersect with any part of the environment (including the actor himself or herself). The model finds a trajectory that is likely to bring the end-effector to me target by means of a one- or two-stage planning process. Each stage exploits the principles of instance retrieval and instance generation. In the first stage, a goal posture is identified, and the trajectory of a direct transition to that posture is tested for collision. If that direct movement has no collision, the movement to the target is immediately executed in joint space. If. however, the direct movement is foreseen to result in a collision, a second planning stage is invoked. The second planning stage identifies a via posture, movement through which will probably avoid the collision. Movement to and from the via posture is then superimposed on the main movement to the target so that the combined movement reaches the target without colliding with intervening obstacles. We describe the details of instance retrieval and instance generation for each of these planning stages and compare the model's performance with the observed kinematics of direct movements as well as movements around an obstacle. Then we suggest how the model might contribute to the study of movements in people with motor disorders such as spastic hemiparesis.

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Luiz C. Santos, Renato Moraes, and Aftab E. Patla

The purpose of the current study was to understand how visual information about an ongoing change in obstacle size is used during obstacle avoidance for both lead and trail limbs. Participants were required to walk in a dark room and to step over an obstacle edged with a special tape visible in the dark. The obstacle’s dimensions were manipulated one step before obstacle clearance by increasing or decreasing its size. Two increasing and two decreasing obstacle conditions were combined with seven control static conditions. Results showed that information about the obstacle’s size was acquired and used to modulate trail limb trajectory, but had no effect on lead limb trajectory. The adaptive step was influenced by the time available to acquire and process visual information. In conclusion, visual information about obstacle size acquired during lead limb crossing was used in a feedforward manner to modulate trail limb trajectory.

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Assane E.S. Niang and Bradford J. McFadyen

The present study investigated the adaptations of specific power bursts during the combined contexts of the proximity (lead vs. trail limb) and height of an obstruction in relation to limb elevation versus progression. Ten young, adult, male subjects walked at their natural speed during unobstructed walking and the bilateral avoidance of moderate and high obstacles. Hip flexor generation power was unaffected by obstacle height for the leading limb and always delayed for the trailing limb. The knee extensor absorption power burst at toe-off was also eliminated for the trailing limb and was found to reappear in mid-swing. Few differences were seen for ankle push-off power. The results suggest that the hip joint is dedicated to limb advancement only, while the knee joint is directly involved in limb elevation and the control of multiarticular effects.

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Lana M. Pfaff and Michael E. Cinelli

, & Frank, 2015 ; Knowles et al., 1976 ). Knowles et al. ( 1976 ) examined the differences in protective zone and obstacle avoidance around an empty bench or a bench occupied by a single person or multiple people. The results revealed a wider path trajectory around the bench occupied by one person compared

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Martin Gérin-Lajoie, Carol L. Richards, and Bradford J. McFadyen

This article introduces a novel, ecological, obstructed walking paradigm. Gait adaptations to circumvent obstacles undergoing uncertain displacements, and the effect of revealing the obstacle’s action beforehand, were investigated in young adults. The personal space (PS) maintained during walking was quantified for the first time under different environmental factors including auditory distractions. Obstacle movement and its uncertainty resulted in gait adjustments aimed at gaining time to assess the situation. Early gait adaptations and constant clearances around the obstacle suggest that anticipation and preplanning are involved in such navigational tasks. Participants systematically maintained an elliptical PS during circumvention, but they adjusted its size according to different environmental factors. There was a relationship between the size of PS and level of attention, which suggests that the regulation of PS is used to control locomotion. This novel paradigm has important implications for the assessment and training of locomotor ability within real world environments.

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Jean Jose da Silva, Fabio Augusto Barbieri, and Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

Crossing moving obstacles requires different space-time adjustments compared with stationary obstacles. Our aim was to investigate gait spatial and temporal parameters in the approach and crossing phases of a moving obstacle. We hypothesized that obstacle speed affects gait parameters, which allow us to distinguish locomotor strategies. Ten young adults walked and stepped over an obstacle that crossed their way perpendicularly, under three obstacle conditions: control—stationary obstacle, slow (1.07m/s) and fast speed (1.71m/s) moving obstacles. Gait parameters were different between obstacle conditions, especially on the slow speed. In the fast condition, the participants adopted predictive strategies during the approach and crossing phases. In the slow condition, they used an anticipatory strategy in both phases. We conclude that obstacle speed affects the locomotor behavior and strategies were distinct in the obstacle avoidance phases.

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Julien Jacquier-Bret, Nasser Rezzoug, and Philippe Gorce

In the presence of motor redundancy, recent studies have shown that goal equivalent configurations of the body segments might be used by the central nervous system (CNS) instead of stereotypical movement patterns. In particular, some authors have shown that the CNS might choose a subset of joint configurations (termed the uncontrolled manifold or UCM) such that variability (goal equivalent variance or GEV) in this subset does not affect the value of a particular performance variable while variability in the orthogonal subset ORT (non-goal equivalent variance or NGEV) does. This hypothesis has been used successfully to test whether specific performance variables such as endpoint trajectory or segment global orientation are stabilized by the CNS or to study the influence of constraints on the organization of the movement. Few studies have examined the redundancy problem when considering obstacle avoidance during a grasping task. Indeed, the majority of the works on this topic considers non redundant arm models or do not take into account the movement variability. In the present work, we sought to study the coordination of the trunk and the arm during a reaching task involving an obstacle and to test whether such a spatial constraint in extrinsic space may induce particular adaptations in term of joint flexibility when considering the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint center positions. In this framework, the upper limb three-dimensional kinematics was recorded. From the calculated joint angles, the variability in joint space related to the three joint center positions was computed and decomposed into GEV and NGEV. In agreement with the UCM hypothesis, results showed higher values of GEV than NGEV for all the experimental conditions. The main finding of the study is that joints’ synergy is strengthened for the stabilization of the elbow joint center position during the late phases of the movement. This strengthening seems to be due mainly to an increase of GEV. Therefore, our results suggest that an increase of joint flexibility may be a mechanism by which the CNS takes into account a spatial constraint in extrinsic space represented by an obstacle.

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Guilherme M. Cesar, Rebecca Lewthwaite, and Susan M. Sigward

children’s ability to accomplish the task successfully ( Cesar & Sigward, 2016 ). Studies assessing the influence of practice on performance of complex locomotor tasks are limited. Benefits of practice have been found to be limited with respect to improving performance of an obstacle avoidance task in