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Stabilization strategies for unstable dynamics.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
1050-6411
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
24
Issue
6
Pages
803–814
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2014.10.006
PMID: 25453479
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The stabilization of the human standing posture was originally attributed to the stiffness of the ankle muscles but direct measurements of the ankle stiffness ruled out this hypothesis, leaving open the possibility for a feedback stabilization strategy driven by proprioceptive signals. This solution, however, could be implemented with two different kinds of control mechanisms, namely continuous or intermittent feedback. The debate is now settled and the latter solution seems to be the most plausible one. Moreover, stabilization of unstable dynamics is not limited to bipedal standing. Indeed many manipulation tasks can be described in the same framework and thus a very general protocol for addressing this kind of problems is the use of haptic virtual reality where instability is generated by some kind of divergent or saddle-like force field. Several studies demonstrated that human subjects can choose to adopt a stiffness or feedback strategy as a combination of biomechanical and task constraints and can learn to switch from one strategy to the other if it is feasible or to use one or the other is infeasible. Understanding such mechanisms is relevant, for example, for the design of novel ergonomic man-machine interfaces in difficult, unstable tasks.

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