Muscle synergies in neuroscience and robotics: from input-space to task-space perspectives

Alessandro, C., Delis, I., Nori, F., Panzeri, S. and Berret, B. (2013) Muscle synergies in neuroscience and robotics: from input-space to task-space perspectives. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7(Art 43), pp. 1-16. (doi: 10.3389/fncom.2013.00043)

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In this paper we review the works related to muscle synergies that have been carried-out in neuroscience and control engineering. In particular, we refer to the hypothesis that the central nervous system (CNS) generates desired muscle contractions by combining a small number of predefined modules, called muscle synergies. We provide an overview of the methods that have been employed to test the validity of this scheme, and we show how the concept of muscle synergy has been generalized for the control of artificial agents. The comparison between these two lines of research, in particular their different goals and approaches, is instrumental to explain the computational implications of the hypothesized modular organization. Moreover, it clarifies the importance of assessing the functional role of muscle synergies: although these basic modules are defined at the level of muscle activations (input-space), they should result in the effective accomplishment of the desired task. This requirement is not always explicitly considered in experimental neuroscience, as muscle synergies are often estimated solely by analyzing recorded muscle activities. We suggest that synergy extraction methods should explicitly take into account task execution variables, thus moving from a perspective purely based on input-space to one grounded on task-space as well.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Panzeri, Professor Stefano and Delis, Dr Ioannis
Authors: Alessandro, C., Delis, I., Nori, F., Panzeri, S., and Berret, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN (Online):1662-5188
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 7(Art 43):1-16
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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