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Motor Coordination in Multi-Digit Task During Wrist Motion

The human motor control system is able to coordinate quite complex tasks with ease and grace. However, even for the simplest of tasks, complete explanations of the mechanisms involved remain elusive. One approach that provides clues is to search for coordination patterns in the trial-to-trial variability produced in the execution of prescribed tasks. When applying this method to study digit force coordination, relatively simple static tasks are often analyzed. Here, the method is extended to the study of a dynamic prehension task involving rhythmical movements of the wrist. The analysis shows that although there is considerable variability in individual digit forces, the total force produced remains quite stable. It is concluded that the motor control system only corrects errors that affect the value of the total force exerted, thus conserving energy and minimizing effort.

Type of Seminar:
Ph.D. Seminar
Robert Nguyen
University of Toronto, Canada
May 11, 2006   14:15

ETH Zentrum, Physikstr. 3, Building ETL, Room K25
Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morrari
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Biographical Sketch:
Robert Nguyen is currently an undergraduate student of the Biomedical Option of Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. He will be receiving his B.A.Sc in Engineering Science in June. In 2004 and 2005 he worked in the software engineering group at MDA Space Missions in Brampton, Canada. There he conducted research on autonomous vehicles for space, military and mining applications. His research interest is in the application of engineering control to physiological systems.