* 16-899B

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16-899B Biomechanics and Motor Control

Recommended Books

[A03]  Principles of Animal Locomotion
R McN Alexander, 2003.

[W09]  Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement
DA Winter, 2009.

[M84]  Muscles, Reflexes and Locomotion
TA McMahon, 1984.

[E08]  Neuromechanics of Human Movement
R Enoka, 2008.

Syllabus & Resources


Chapter 1.  Legged Locomotion

#01 Topics:  1.1 Legged Locomotion across the Animal Kingdom (morphology and behavior, leg number and gaits, common dynamics in stance of walking and running). Resources: Ch 1 & 5 of A03, gaits, energetics.

#02 Topics:  1.2 Walking (inverted pendulum model for walking, impacts as inherent part of legged locomotion, dynamic walking speed limit, double-pendulum swing leg model). Resources: impact losses, transition speed, ballistic swing model.

#03 Topics:  1.2 contd (passive dynamic walkers, passive dynamic stability).  1.3 Running (spring mass model for running, dynamic similarity of running animals). Resources: Ch 7 of A03, passive dynamic walker, passive dynamic stability, spring-mass model, dimensionless leg stiffness, Ch 9 of M84.

#04 Topics:  1.3 contd (mechanical self-stability).  1.4 Combination (impulsive walking and running, principle of load sharing in walking, spring-mass walking and running).  Resources: self-stability, impulsive model, compliant model.

#05 Topics:  1.5 Segmentation (mechanical advantage in segmented legs, bow and zigzag mode, instability of leg compression in zigzag mode, measures to force stable compression).  Resources: mechanical advantage, segmented leg stability.

#06 Topics:  1.6 Standing and Balance (human balance strategies, inverted pendulum balance model for standing, linear inverted pendulum model for stopping after a step). Resources: human balance strategies, linear inverted pendulum model, capture points and flywheel extension.

#07 Topics:  1.6 contd (3D linear inverted pendulum model for locomotion balance, Dynamic balance in running).  1.7 Summary (key points discussed and further topics not covered).  Resources: 3D Linear inverted pendulum model, M.H. Raibert: Legged Robots That Balance. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA. Poincare map manipulation.

#08 [Sep 16] Guest Lecture:  Robotics in Rehabilitation after Neurological Injury (A Koenig, ETH Sensory-Motor Systems Lab).

Chapter 2. Flying

#08 [Sep 16] Topics:  2.1 Gliding (drag force and its friction and pressure components, dynamic similarity in fluids and Reynolds number).  Resources: Chapters 3.4, 4.2 and 10.1 in A03.

#09 [Sep 21] Topics:  2.1 contd. (lift force and its representation in vortices, lift-induced drag force and sectioning of wings, gliding performance and stability, animal soaring techniques). Chapters 10.2-10.6 in A03

#10 [Sep23] 2.2 Hovering and Powered Flight (airflow around hovering animals, lift generation, aerodynamics of flapping flight).  Resources: Ch 11 in A03.

#11 [Sep 28] Topics:  2.2 contd. (aerodynamics of flapping flight, flying gaits).   2.3 Summary.  Resources: Chapters 11.2 and 12.1-12.3 in A03.

Chapter 3. Swimming

#11 [Sep 28] Topics:  3.1 Buoyancy (Archimedes' principle, buoyancy organs, buoyancy in denser-than-water animals). Resources: Ch 17 in A03.

#12 [Sep 30] Topics:  3.2 Swimming with Oars (drag powered swimming, Froude efficiency, swimming pattern). 3.3 Swimming with Hydrofoils and  by Undulation (swimming pattern using lift on paired fins, swimming with hydrofoil tails, undulating fishes, swimming gaits). 3.4 Summary Resources: Ch 14 and 15 in A03.


Chapter 4. Muscle Motors

#13 [Oct 5] Topics:  4.1 Muscle Mechanics (muscle tendon units, activation dynamics, force-length curve, force-velocity curve) 4.2 Muscle and Metabolic Power (optimal muscle power output, metabolic rate, muscle efficiency). Resources: Ch 1 in M84 or Ch 9 in W09 or Ch 6 in E08. metabolic rate function.

#14 [Oct 7] Topics:  4.3 Hill-Type Muscle Models (contractile, series and parallel elastic elements, pennation, moment arms).  4.4 Comparison to Technical Actuators (functional comparison with eletromagnetic actuators, limitations of technical actuators in locomotion, partial solutions including series elastic actuators, clutches and cable drives).  Resources: Hill muscle models, parallel elasticity arrangement. 

#15 [Oct 12] Topics:  4.5 Summary

Chapter 5. Experimental Evidences about Motor Control

#15 [Oct 12] Topics:  5.1 Motor Patterns (EMG recording and muscle activity, motor patterns of major human leg muscles, muscle synergies, alpha-motoneurons as the last common pathway of control, synapses transmitting control between cells, firing rate and recruitment).  Resources:  Ch 5 in E08, motor patterns in walking and running, muscle synergies.

#16 [Oct 14]  Topics:  5.1 contd. (competing theories about the origin of motor patterns)  5.2 Evidence favoring Central Rhythm Control (Graham Brown's experiments 1910-1914, hard evidence for central pattern generators in invertebrates, summary of evidence for CPG control in vertebrates).  Resources: Brown's paper, CPG review.

#17 [Oct 19] Topics:  [PROJECT PROPOSALS] 5.3 Evidence favoring Reflex Control (components of spinal reflexes, early evidence for reflex control 1906, probing spinal circuitry).  Resources: Ch 7 in E08, signal content of muscle spindles and GTOs, summary Sherrington's work.

#18 [Oct 21]  Topics:  5.3 contd. (most commonly observed spinal pathways, summary of evidence on reflex control in locomotion).  Resources: Ch 7 in E08, H-reflex as method to probe circuitry.

Chapter 6. Models of Motor Control

#19 [Oct 21] Topics:  6.1 General Outline of Neuromuscular Control Models (common components of neuromuscular control models of locomotion, references for models of components at different levels of detail).  6.2 Representative Example of a CPG-driven Model (Taga et al. 1991) (musculoskeletal system).  Resources: Taga et al. paper.

#20 [Oct 26] Topics:  6.2 contd. (free body diagram and equations of motion, neuron model, neural rhythm generator layout, feedback pathways, model results and criticism).  Resources: neuron and oscillator model.

#21 [Oct 28] Topics:  6.3 Alternative Motor Control Models (Example model testing lambda hypothesis, a plea for simple and testable models of motor control, Prochazka's reflex model for load compensation, generalization of positive force feedback control connecting legged dynamics and motor control).

Chapter 7. Comparison to Legged Robot Control

7.1 Static Locomotion and ZMP-based Control (polygon of support and hexapod locomotion, zero moment point, computed ZMP, ZMP in multi-body systems, generating walking patterns)

7.2 Virtual Model Control (basic idea, virtual model implementation)

7.3 Raibert Controller and Virtual Leg Control (Raibert platform, 3-part-4stage controller for height, velocity and attitude, virtual leg control of multi-legged Raibert robots)

7.4 Summary (connection between robot and motor control? mutual inspiration?)


Project Ideas

� H. Geyer, 29 Aug 2010