supported by
EC project
STIFF/VIACTORS Summer School on Impedance supported by
EC project

Keynote speakers:
Alin Albu-Schäffer, DLR
Antonio Bicchi, U. Pisa
Etienne Burdet, Imperial
Neville Hogan, MIT
Oussama Khatib, Stanford
Gerald Loeb, USC
Joseph McIntyre, UPD-CNRS
Patrick van der Smagt, DLR
Sethu Vijayakumar, Edinburgh

Joseph McIntyre
CESEM - UMR 8194
Université Paris Descartes
45 rue des Saints-Pères
75270 PARIS Cedex 06
Phone: +31 1 42 86 33 15


video part 1
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video part 2
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Joe McIntyre

When and how do humans modulate impedance to optimise task-oriented performance?

In the earliest studies of human arm impedance it was shown that the fundamental spring-like properties of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system generalise to multiple dimensions. Imposing small displacements of the hand with a robot in two dimensions generated restoring forces toward the initial position. Given the presence of multi-joint muscles and non-homonymous reflex loops in the spinal cord, the CNS can in principle modulate each of these three characteristics independently. A fundamental question therefore is, when and how do humans modulate the multi-dimensional parameters of the limb’s impedance in order to optimise performance for different tasks?

In these lecture I will review the early literature on human behaviour that have inspired theories about impedance control for humans and for robots. I will discuss some of the experimental evidence that links theory to reality in biological systems and I will describe some more recent attempts to apply the principles of impedance control, and related theories, to understanding how humans control movement.

Note: all PDF downloads for personal use only!

Related publications

  1. Bizzi E, Accornero N, Chapple W, Hogan N (1984). Posture control and trajectory formation during arm movement. J Neurosci 4 2738–2744. [pdf]

  2. Burdet E, Osu R, Franklin D, Milner T, Kawato M (2001). The central nervous system stabilizes unstable dynamics by learning optimal impedance. Nature 414 446-449. [pdf]

  3. Hogan N (1984). An organizing principle for a class of voluntary movements. J Neurosci 4 2745-2754.

  4. Hogan N (1984). Adaptive control of mechanical impedance by coactivation of antagonist muscles. IEEE Tr Automatic Control 29 681–690. [pdf]

  5. Mussa-Ivaldi FA, Giszter SF, Bizzi E (1994). Linear combinations of primitives in vertebrate motor control. PNAS 91 7534–7538. [pdf]

  6. Lackner JR, Dizio P (1994). Rapid adaptation to Coriolis force perturbations of arm trajectory. J Neurophysiol 72 299–313. [pdf]

  7. Damm L, McIntyre J (2008). Physiological Basis of Limb-Impedance Modulation During Free and Constrained Movements. J Neurophysiology 100 2577–2588. [pdf]

  8. McIntyre J, Slotine JJ (2008). Does the brain make waves to improve stability?. Brain Research Bulletin 75 717-722. [pdf]