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During quiet standing the human "inverted pendulum" sways irregularly. In previous work where subjects balanced a real inverted pendulum, we investigated what contribution the intrinsic mechanical ankle stiffness makes to achieve stability. Using the results of a plausible model, we suggested that intrinsic ankle stiffness is inadequate for providing(More)
It has been widely assumed for nearly a century, that postural muscles operate in a spring-like manner and that muscle length signals joint angle (the mechano-reflex mechanism). Here we employ automated analysis of ultrasound images to resolve calf muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) length changes as small as 10 mum in standing subjects. Previously, we have(More)
Human balance is commonly described using linear-time-invariant (LTI) models. The feedback time delay determines the position of balance in the motor-control hierarchy. The extent of LTI control illuminates the automaticity of the control process. Using non-parametric analysis, we measured the feedback delay, extent of LTI control and visuo-motor transfer(More)
In humans, during standing the calf muscles soleus and gastrocnemius actively prevent forward toppling about the ankles. It has been generally assumed that these postural muscles behave like springs with dynamic stiffness reflecting their mechanical properties, reflex gain including higher derivatives, and central control. Here, for the first time, we have(More)
While standing naturally and when manually or pedally balancing an equivalent inverted pendulum, the load sways slowly (characteristic unidirectional duration approximately 1 s) and the controller, calf muscles or hand, makes more frequent adjustments (characteristic unidirectional duration 400 ms). Here we test the hypothesis that these durations reflect(More)
In standing, there are small sways of the body. Our interest is to use an artificial task to illuminate the mechanisms underlying the sways and to account for changes in their size. Using the ankle musculature, subjects balanced a large inverted pendulum. The equilibrium of the pendulum is unstable and quasi-regular sway was observed like that in quiet(More)
These experiments were prompted by the recent discovery that the intrinsic stiffness of the ankle is inadequate to stabilise passively the body in standing. Our hope was that showing how a large inverted pendulum was manually balanced with low intrinsic stiffness would elucidate the active control of human standing. The results show that the pendulum can be(More)
It has been suggested that vibration causes small changes in muscle length, but to the best of our knowledge, these have yet to be demonstrated during whole-body vibration (WBV). This was an observational study to determine whether acute WBV would result in muscle lengthening. We hypothesized that acute WBV would increase electromyography (EMG) activity(More)
Continuous measurement of contractile length has been traditionally achieved using animal preparations in which the muscle and tendon are exposed. More modern methods, e.g., sonomicroscopy, are still invasive. There is a widely perceived need for a noninvasive, in vivo method of measuring continuous changes of human muscle contractile length.(More)
Human motor control is often explained in terms of engineering 'servo' theory. Recently, continuous, optimal control using internal models has emerged as a leading paradigm for voluntary movement. However, these engineering paradigms are designed for high band-width, inflexible, consistent systems whereas human control is low bandwidth and flexible using(More)