Learning feedforward commands to muscles using time-shifted sensory feedback

Theodore E. Milner, Bernard Ng, David W. Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In adapting to changing forces in the mechanical environment, humans change the force being applied by the limb by reciprocal changes in the activation of antagonistic muscles. However, they also cocontract these muscles when interaction with the environment is mechanically unstable to increase the mechanical impedance of the limb. We have postulated that appropriate patterns of muscle activation could be learned using a simple scheme in which the naturally occurring stretch reflex is used as a template to adjust feedforward commands to muscles. Feedforward commands are modified iteratively by shifting a scaled version of the reflex response forward in time and adding it to the previous feedforward command. We show that such an algorithm can account for the principal features of changes in muscle activation observed when human subjects adapt to instabilities in the mechanical environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Congress Series
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive control
  • Cocontraction
  • Stability
  • Stretch reflex
  • Wrist


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