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Analysis of the synergies underlying complex hand manipulation.

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1
Department of Cognitive Science, University of California at San Diego, CA, USA.

Abstract

Coupling of actuators into motor synergies has been observed repeatedly, and is traditionally interpreted as a strategy for simplifying complex coordination problems. This view implies a small number of task-independent synergies. We have shown that optimal feedback control also gives rise to synergies in the absence of any simplification; the structure and number of such optimal synergies depends on the task. To compare these hypotheses, we recorded hand postures from a range of complex manipulation task. The structure of the synergies we extracted (via PCA) was task-dependent, and their number significantly exceeded previous observations in a simpler grasping task. Our results lend support to an optimal control explanation rather than a "simplicity" explanation.

PMID:
17271341
DOI:
10.1109/IEMBS.2004.1404285
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