Locomotion Motor Control


This chapter turns from the sensors discussed in Chapters 3 and 4 to the motor output side of neuromorphic systems. Understanding how to engineer biological motor systems has far reaching implications, particularly in the fields of medicine and robotics. However, there are many complexities when it comes to understanding biological design. This chapter describes ways in which scientists and engineers have uncovered truths about the control circuitry behind animal locomotor skills (the motor circuits responsible for an organism’s locomotion) and discusses practical design solutions used for implementing these circuits. Neuromorphic design of locomotor systems in particular aims to replicate the efficiency and efficacy of biological design for its remarkable performance under real-world conditions. The end result of such efforts helps spawn innovative solutions for individuals with impaired motor function, and in the field of robotics, neuromorphic design will continue to redefine the level of robotic interactions within nature, as well as situations and environments adapted to human ergonomics. (Sections of this chapter have been adapted from the thesis work of Vogelstein (2007).)

5.1   Introduction

Evolution has produced a variety of animals that have developed interesting ways of moving in their environment. As scientists and engineers, we sometimes ...

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