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A comparative analysis of speed profile models for ankle pointing movements: evidence that lower and upper extremity discrete movements are controlled by a single invariant strategy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hermano Krebs



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Little is known about whether our knowledge of how the central nervous system controls the upper extremities (UE), can generalize, and to what extent to the lower limbs. Our continuous efforts to design the ideal adaptive robotic therapy for the lower limbs of stroke patients and children with cerebral palsy highlighted the importance of analyzing and modeling the kinematics of the lower limbs, in general, and those of the ankle joints, in particular. We recruited 15 young healthy adults that performed in total 1,386 visually evoked, visually guided, and target-directed discrete pointing movements with their ankle in dorsal-plantar and inversion-eversion directions. Using a non-linear, least-squares error-minimization procedure, we estimated the parameters for 19 models, which were initially designed to capture the dynamics of upper limb movements of various complexity. We validated our models based on their ability to reconstruct the experimental data. Our results suggest a remarkable similarity between the top-performing models that described the speed profiles of ankle pointing movements and the ones previously found for the UE both during arm reaching and wrist pointing movements. Among the top performers were the support-bounded lognormal and the beta models that have a neurophysiological basis and have been successfully used in upper extremity studies with normal subjects and patients. Our findings suggest that the same model can be applied to different "human" hardware, perhaps revealing a key invariant in human motor control. These findings have a great potential to enhance our rehabilitation efforts in any population with lower extremity deficits by, for example, assessing the level of motor impairment and improvement as well as informing the design of control algorithms for therapeutic ankle robots.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Michmizos KP, Vaisman L, Krebs HI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Year: 2014

Volume: 8

Online publication date: 27/11/2014

Acceptance date: 12/11/2014

Date deposited: 28/08/2015

ISSN (electronic): 1662-5161

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00962

PubMed id: 25505881


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Funder referenceFunder name
Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF)
Foundation for Education and European Culture
Niarchos Foundation