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IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2015 Mar;23(2):267-76. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2014.2371238. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Sensory feedback in prosthetics: a standardized test bench for closed-loop control.


Closing the control loop by providing sensory feedback to the user of a prosthesis is an important challenge, with major impact on the future of prosthetics. Developing and comparing closed-loop systems is a difficult task, since there are many different methods and technologies that can be used to implement each component of the system. Here, we present a test bench developed in Matlab Simulink for configuring and testing the closed-loop human control system in standardized settings. The framework comprises a set of connected generic blocks with normalized inputs and outputs, which can be customized by selecting specific implementations from a library of predefined components. The framework is modular and extensible and it can be used to configure, compare and test different closed-loop system prototypes, thereby guiding the development towards an optimal system configuration. The use of the test bench was demonstrated by investigating two important aspects of closed-loop control: performance of different electrotactile feedback interfaces (spatial versus intensity coding) during a pendulum stabilization task and feedforward methods (joystick versus myocontrol) for force control. The first experiment demonstrated that in the case of trained subjects the intensity coding might be superior to spatial coding. In the second experiment, the control of force was rather poor even with a stable and precise control interface (joystick), demonstrating that inherent characteristics of the prosthesis can be an important limiting factor when considering the overall effectiveness of the closed-loop control. The presented test bench is an important instrument for investigating different aspects of human manual control with sensory feedback.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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