Energy efficient and robust rhytmic limb movement by central pattern generators

B.W. Verdaasdonk, Hubertus F.J.M. Koopman, F.C.T. van der Helm

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Humans show great energy efficiency and robustness in rhythmic tasks, such as walking and arm swinging. In this study a mathematical model of rhythmic limb movement is presented, which shows that tight local coupling of Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) to limbs could explain part of this behavior. Afferent feedback to flexor and extensor centers of the CPG is crucial in providing energy efficiency by means of resonance tuning. Feedback of positional information provides resonance tuning above the endogenous frequency of the CPG. Integral feedback provides resonance tuning at and below the endogenous frequency. Feedback of velocity information is necessary to compensate for the time delay in the loop, coupling limb to CPG; without velocity feedback bi-stability occurs and resonance tuning is not possible at high movement frequencies. The concepts of energy efficient and robust control of rhythmic limb movements are also applicable to robotics. It is the first CPG model, which provides resonance tuning at natural limb frequencies above and below its endogenous frequency.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)388-400
Number of pages13
JournalNeural networks
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Mathematical model
  • METIS-232253
  • Resonance tuning
  • Limb movement
  • Central pattern generator
  • Afferent feedback
  • IR-73032

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