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Characterizing the Role of Arm Configuration on Patterns of Movement Variability in 3D Space

Description

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been examined, the role of limb configuration on endpoint variability has been mostly ignored. Characterizing the influence of arm configuration (i.e. intrinsic factors) would allow greater comprehension of sensorimotor integration and assist in interpreting exaggerated movement variability in patients. In this study, subjects were placed in a 3-D virtual reality environment and were asked to move from a starting position to one of three targets in the frontal plane with and without visual feedback of the moving limb. The alternating of visual feedback during trials increased uncertainty between the planning and execution phases. The starting limb configurations, adducted and abducted, were varied in separate blocks. Arm configurations were setup by rotating along the shoulder-hand axis to maintain endpoint position. The investigation hypothesized: 1) patterns of endpoint variability of movements would be dependent upon the starting arm configuration and 2) any differences observed would be more apparent in conditions that withheld visual feedback. The results indicated that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but differences in variability increased when visual feedback was withheld. Overall this suggests that in the presence of visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space mostly uses coordinates that are arm configuration independent. On the other hand, without visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space relies substantially on intrinsic coordinates.

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2014-05

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Characterizing the Role of Arm Configuration on Patterns of Movement Variability in 3D Space

Description

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been examined, the role of limb configuration on endpoint variability has been mostly ignored. Characterizing the influence of arm configuration (i.e. intrinsic factors) would allow greater comprehension of sensorimotor integration and assist in interpreting exaggerated movement variability in patients. In this study, subjects were placed in a 3-D virtual reality environment and were asked to move from a starting position to one of three targets in the frontal plane with and without visual feedback of the moving limb. The alternating of visual feedback during trials increased uncertainty between the planning and execution phases. The starting limb configurations, adducted and abducted, were varied in separate blocks. Arm configurations were setup by rotating along the shoulder-hand axis to maintain endpoint position. The investigation hypothesized: 1) patterns of endpoint variability of movements would be dependent upon the starting arm configuration and 2) any differences observed would be more apparent in conditions that withheld visual feedback. The results indicated that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but differences in variability increased when visual feedback was withheld. Overall this suggests that in the presence of visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space mostly uses coordinates that are arm configuration independent. On the other hand, without visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space relies substantially on intrinsic coordinates.

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2014-05

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Investigation of Multimodal Tactile Cues for Multidigit Rotational Tasks

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The goal of this project was to use the sense of touch to investigate tactile cues during multidigit rotational manipulations of objects. A robotic arm and hand equipped with three multimodal tactile sensors were used to gather data about skin

The goal of this project was to use the sense of touch to investigate tactile cues during multidigit rotational manipulations of objects. A robotic arm and hand equipped with three multimodal tactile sensors were used to gather data about skin deformation during rotation of a haptic knob. Three different rotation speeds and two levels of rotation resistance were used to investigate tactile cues during knob rotation. In the future, this multidigit task can be generalized to similar rotational tasks, such as opening a bottle or turning a doorknob.

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2014-05

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Optimizing Biofeedback and Learning in an EEG-Based Brain-Computer Interface

Description

Brain-computer interface technology establishes communication between the brain and a computer, allowing users to control devices, machines, or virtual objects using their thoughts. This study investigates optimal conditions to facilitate learning to operate this interface. It compares two biofeedback methods,

Brain-computer interface technology establishes communication between the brain and a computer, allowing users to control devices, machines, or virtual objects using their thoughts. This study investigates optimal conditions to facilitate learning to operate this interface. It compares two biofeedback methods, which dictate the relationship between brain activity and the movement of a virtual ball in a target-hitting task. Preliminary results indicate that a method in which the position of the virtual object directly relates to the amplitude of brain signals is most conducive to success. In addition, this research explores learning in the context of neural signals during training with a BCI task. Specifically, it investigates whether subjects can adapt to parameters of the interface without guidance. This experiment prompts subjects to modulate brain signals spectrally, spatially, and temporally, as well differentially to discriminate between two different targets. However, subjects are not given knowledge regarding these desired changes, nor are they given instruction on how to move the virtual ball. Preliminary analysis of signal trends suggests that some successful participants are able to adapt brain wave activity in certain pre-specified locations and frequency bands over time in order to achieve control. Future studies will further explore these phenomena, and future BCI projects will be advised by these methods, which will give insight into the creation of more intuitive and reliable BCI technology.

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2014-05

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The Role of Primary Motor Cortex (M1) in the Context-Dependent Interference

Description

A previous study demonstrated that learning to lift an object is context-based and that in the presence of both the memory and visual cues, the acquired sensorimotor memory to manipulate an object in one context interferes with the performance of

A previous study demonstrated that learning to lift an object is context-based and that in the presence of both the memory and visual cues, the acquired sensorimotor memory to manipulate an object in one context interferes with the performance of the same task in presence of visual information about a different context (Fu et al, 2012).
The purpose of this study is to know whether the primary motor cortex (M1) plays a role in the sensorimotor memory. It was hypothesized that temporary disruption of the M1 following the learning to minimize a tilt using a ‘L’ shaped object would negatively affect the retention of sensorimotor memory and thus reduce interference between the memory acquired in one context and the visual cues to perform the same task in a different context.
Significant findings were shown in blocks 1, 2, and 4. In block 3, subjects displayed insignificant amount of learning. However, it cannot be concluded that there is full interference in block 3. Therefore, looked into 3 effects in statistical analysis: the main effects of the blocks, the main effects of the trials, and the effects of the blocks and trials combined. From the block effects, there is a p-value of 0.001, and from the trial effects, the p-value is less than 0.001. Both of these effects indicate that there is learning occurring. However, when looking at the blocks * trials effects, we see a p-value of 0.002 < 0.05 indicating significant interaction between sensorimotor memories. Based on the results that were found, there is a presence of interference in all the blocks but not enough to justify the use of TMS in order to reduce interference because there is a partial reduction of interference from the control experiment. It is evident that the time delay might be the issue between context switches. By reducing the time delay between block 2 and 3 from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, I will hope to see significant learning to occur from the first trial to the second trial.

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2014-05

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Sensory-motor integration for control of digit position in grasping and manipulation

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Dexterous manipulation is a representative task that involves sensorimotor integration underlying a fine control of movements. Over the past 30 years, research has provided significant insight, including the control mechanisms of force coordination during manipulation tasks. Successful dexterous manipulation is

Dexterous manipulation is a representative task that involves sensorimotor integration underlying a fine control of movements. Over the past 30 years, research has provided significant insight, including the control mechanisms of force coordination during manipulation tasks. Successful dexterous manipulation is thought to rely on the ability to integrate the sense of digit position with motor commands responsible for generating digit forces and placement. However, the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of digit position-force coordination are not well understood. This dissertation addresses this question through three experiments that are based on psychophysics and object lifting tasks. It was found in psychophysics tasks that sensed relative digit position was accurately reproduced when sensorimotor transformations occurred with larger vertical fingertip separations, within the same hand, and at the same hand posture. The results from a follow-up experiment conducted in the same digit position-matching task while generating forces in different directions reveal a biased relative digit position toward the direction of force production. Specifically, subjects reproduced the thumb CoP higher than the index finger CoP when vertical digit forces were directed upward and downward, respectively, and vice versa. It was also found in lifting tasks that the ability to discriminate the relative digit position prior to lifting an object and modulate digit forces to minimize object roll as a function of digit position are robust regardless of whether motor commands for positioning the digits on the object are involved. These results indicate that the erroneous sensorimotor transformations of relative digit position reported here must be compensated during dexterous manipulation by other mechanisms, e.g., visual feedback of fingertip position. Furthermore, predicted sensory consequences derived from the efference copy of voluntary motor commands to generate vertical digit forces may override haptic sensory feedback for the estimation of relative digit position. Lastly, the sensorimotor transformations from haptic feedback to digit force modulation to position appear to be facilitated by motor commands for active digit placement in manipulation.

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2014