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Biol Cybern. 2006 Dec;95(6):555-66. Epub 2006 Nov 18.

Dynamic control of the central pattern generator for locomotion.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


We show that an ongoing locomotor pattern can be dynamically controlled by applying discrete pulses of electrical stimulation to the central pattern generator (CPG) for locomotion. Data are presented from a pair of experiments on biological (wetware) and electrical (hardware) models of the CPG demonstrating that stimulation causes brief deviations from the CPG's limit cycle activity. The exact characteristics of the deviation depend strongly on the phase of stimulation. Applications of this work are illustrated by examples showing how locomotion can be controlled by using a feedback loop to monitor CPG activity and applying stimuli at the appropriate times to modulate motor output. Eventually, this approach could lead to development of a neuroprosthetic device for restoring locomotion after paralysis.

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