Robustness and hierarchical control of performance variables through coordination during human locomotion
Auyang, Arick Gin-Yu
MetadataShow full item record
The kinematic motor redundancy of the human legs provides more local degrees of freedom than are necessary to achieve low degree of freedom performance variables like leg length and orientation. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how the neuromuscular skeletal system simplifies control of a kinematically redundant system to achieve stable locomotion under different conditions. I propose that the neuromuscular skeletal system minimizes step to step variance of leg length and orientation while allowing segment angles to vary within the set of acceptable combinations of angles that achieves the desired leg length and orientation. I find that during human hopping, control of the locomotor system is organized hierarchically such that leg length and orientation are achieved by structuring segment angle variance. I also found that leg length and leg orientation was minimized for a variety of conditions and perturbations, including frequency, constrained foot placement, and different speeds. The results of this study will give valuable information on interjoint compensation strategies used when the locomotor system is perturbed. This work also provides evidence for neuromuscular system strategies in adapting to novel, difficult tasks. This information can be extended to give insight into new and different areas to focus on during gait rehabilitation of humans suffering from motor control deficits in movement and gait.