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PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Apr 1;12(4):e1004861. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004861. eCollection 2016 Apr.

Sensory Agreement Guides Kinetic Energy Optimization of Arm Movements during Object Manipulation.

Author information

1
Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America.
3
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
4
Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.
5
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America.
6
Department of Physiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Abstract

The laws of physics establish the energetic efficiency of our movements. In some cases, like locomotion, the mechanics of the body dominate in determining the energetically optimal course of action. In other tasks, such as manipulation, energetic costs depend critically upon the variable properties of objects in the environment. Can the brain identify and follow energy-optimal motions when these motions require moving along unfamiliar trajectories? What feedback information is required for such optimal behavior to occur? To answer these questions, we asked participants to move their dominant hand between different positions while holding a virtual mechanical system with complex dynamics (a planar double pendulum). In this task, trajectories of minimum kinetic energy were along curvilinear paths. Our findings demonstrate that participants were capable of finding the energy-optimal paths, but only when provided with veridical visual and haptic information pertaining to the object, lacking which the trajectories were executed along rectilinear paths.

PMID:
27035587
PMCID:
PMC4818082
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004861
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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