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Evidence suggests that the nervous system controls motor tasks using a low-dimensional modular organization of muscle activation. However, it is not clear if such an organization applies to coordination of human walking, nor how nervous system injury may alter the organization of motor modules and their biomechanical outputs. We first tested the hypothesis(More)
Many-legged animals, such as crabs and cockroaches, utilize whole-body mechanics similar to that observed for running bipeds and trotting quadrupedal mammals. Despite the diversity in morphology, two legs in a quadrupedal mammal, three legs in an insect and four legs in a crab can function in the same way as one leg of a biped during ground contact. To(More)
Recently developed computational techniques have been used to reduce muscle activation patterns of high complexity to a simple synergy organization and to bring new insights to the long-standing degrees of freedom problem in motor control. We used a nonnegative factorization approach to identify muscle synergies during postural responses in the cat and to(More)
Stability is fundamental to the performance of terrestrial locomotion. Running cockroaches met the criteria for static stability over a wide range of speeds, yet several locomotor variables changed in a way that revealed an increase in the importance of dynamic stability as speed increased. Duty factors (the fraction of time that a leg spends on the ground(More)
We recently showed that four muscle synergies can reproduce multiple muscle activation patterns in cats during postural responses to support surface translations. We now test the robustness of functional muscle synergies, which specify muscle groupings and the active force vectors produced during postural responses under several biomechanically distinct(More)
Postural control is a natural behavior that requires the spatial and temporal coordination of multiple muscles. Complex muscle activation patterns characterizing postural responses suggest the need for independent muscle control. However, our previous work shows that postural responses in cats can be robustly reproduced by the activation of a few muscle(More)
The simple act of standing up is an important and essential motor behavior that most humans and animals achieve with ease. Yet, maintaining standing balance involves complex sensorimotor transformations that must continually integrate a large array of sensory inputs and coordinate multiple motor outputs to muscles throughout the body. Multiple, redundant(More)
The musculoskeletal redundancy of the body provides multiple solutions for performing motor tasks. We have proposed that the nervous system solves this unconstrained problem through the recruitment of motor modules or functional muscle synergies that map motor intention to action. Consistent with this hypothesis, we showed that trial-by-trial variations in(More)
We investigated muscle activity, ground reaction forces, and center of mass (CoM) acceleration in two different postural behaviors for standing balance control in humans to determine whether common neural mechanisms are used in different postural tasks. We compared nonstepping responses, where the base of support is stationary and balance is recovered by(More)
Recent research suggests that the nervous system controls muscles by activating flexible combinations of muscle synergies to produce a wide repertoire of movements. Muscle synergies are like building blocks, defining characteristic patterns of activation across multiple muscles that may be unique to each individual, but perform similar functions. The(More)