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J Biomech. 2017 Feb 28;53:154-162. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.01.020. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

Modular neuromuscular control of human locomotion by central pattern generator.

Author information

1
Mechanical Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Avenue, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: haghpanah@mech.sharif.ir.
2
Mechanical Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Avenue, Tehran, Iran; RCBTR, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: farahmand@sharif.edu.
3
Mechanical Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Avenue, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: zohoor@sharif.edu.

Abstract

The central pattern generators (CPG) in the spinal cord are thought to be responsible for producing the rhythmic motor patterns during rhythmic activities. For locomotor tasks, this involves much complexity, due to a redundant system of muscle actuators with a large number of highly nonlinear muscles. This study proposes a reduced neural control strategy for the CPG, based on modular organization of the co-active muscles, i.e., muscle synergies. Four synergies were extracted from the EMG data of the major leg muscles of two subjects, during two gait trials each, using non-negative matrix factorization algorithm. A Matsuoka׳s four-neuron CPG model with mutual inhibition, was utilized to generate the rhythmic activation patterns of the muscle synergies, using the hip flexion angle and foot contact force information from the sensory afferents as inputs. The model parameters were tuned using the experimental data of one gait trial, which resulted in a good fitting accuracy (RMSEs between 0.0491 and 0.1399) between the simulation and experimental synergy activations. The model׳s performance was then assessed by comparing its predictions for the activation patterns of the individual leg muscles during locomotion with the relevant EMG data. Results indicated that the characteristic features of the complex activation patterns of the muscles were well reproduced by the model for different gait trials and subjects. In general, the CPG- and muscle synergy-based model was promising in view of its simple architecture, yet extensive potentials for neuromuscular control, e.g., resolving redundancies, distributed and fast control, and modulation of locomotion by simple control signals.

KEYWORDS:

Motor pattern; Motor program; Muscle redundancy; Muscle synergies; Rhythmic activity

PMID:
28126336
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.01.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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