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A 3D musculo-mechanical model of the salamander for the study of different gaits and modes of locomotion
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Computational Biology, CB.
Neurocentre Magendie, Bordeaux University, Bordeaux Cedex, France.
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Computational Biology, CB.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2792-1622
2010 (English)In: Frontiers in neurorobotics, ISSN 1662-5218, Vol. 4, 112- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Computer simulation has been used to investigate several aspects of locomotion in salamanders. Here we introduce a three-dimensional forward dynamics mechanical model of a salamander, with physically realistic weight and size parameters. Movements of the four limbs and of the trunk and tail are generated by sets of linearly modeled skeletal muscles. In this study, activation of these muscles were driven by prescribed neural output patterns. The model was successfully used to mimic locomotion on level ground and in water. We compare the walking gait where a wave of activity in the axial muscles travels between the girdles, with the trotting gait in simulations using the musculo-mechanical model. In a separate experiment, the model is used to compare different strategies for turning while stepping; either by bending the trunk or by using side-stepping in the front legs. We found that for turning, the use of side-stepping alone or in combination with trunk bending, was more effective than the use of trunk bending alone. We conclude that the musculo-mechanical model described here together with a proper neural controller is useful for neuro-physiological experiments in silico.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 4, 112- p.
Keyword [en]
computer simulation, musculo-mechanical model, pattern generators, salamander locomotion, side-stepping, walking gait
National Category
Bioinformatics (Computational Biology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39203DOI: 10.3389/fnbot.2010.00112PubMedID: 21206530Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84876144333OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-39203DiVA: diva2:439627
Note
QC 20111004Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-09-08 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Computer Simulation of the Neural Control of Locomotion in the Cat and the Salamander
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Computer Simulation of the Neural Control of Locomotion in the Cat and the Salamander
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Locomotion is an integral part of a whole range of animal behaviours. The basic rhythm for locomotion in vertebrates has been shown to arise from local networks residing in the spinal cord and these networks are known as central pattern generators (CPG). However, during the locomotion, these centres are constantly interacting with the sensory feedback signals coming from muscles, joints and peripheral skin receptors in order to adapt the stepping or swimming to varying environmental conditions. Conceptual models of vertebrate locomotion have been constructed using mathematical models of locomotor subsystems based on the neurophysiological evidence obtained primarily in the cat and the salamander, an amphibian with a sprawling posture. Such models provide opportunity for studying the key elements in the transition from aquatic to terrestrial locomotion. Several aspects of locomotor control using the cat or the salamander as an animal model have been investigated employing computer simulations and here we use the same approach to address a number of questions or/and hypotheses related to rhythmic locomotion in quadrupeds. Some of the involved questions are, the role of mechanical linkage during deafferented walking, finding inherent stabilities/instabilities of muscle-joint interactions during normal walking and estimating phase dependent controlability of muscle action over joints. Also we investigate limb and body coordination for different gaits, use of side-stepping in front limbs for turning and the role of sensory feedback in gait generation and transitions in salamanders.

     This thesis presents the basics of the biologically realistic models of cat and salamander locomotion and summarizes computational methods in modeling quadruped locomotor subsystems such as CPG, limb muscles and sensory pathways. In the case of cat hind limb, we conclude that the mechanical linkages between the legs play a major role in producing the alternating gait. In another experiment we use the model to identify open-loop linear transfer functions between muscle activations and joint angles while ongoing locomotion. We hypothesize that the musculo-skeletal system for locomotion in animals, at least in cats, operates under critically damped condition.

     The 3D model of the salamander is successfully used to mimic locomotion on level ground and in water. We compare the walking gait with the trotting gait in simulations. We also found that for turning, the use of side-stepping alone or in combination with trunk bending is more effective than the use of trunk bending alone. The same model together with a more realistic CPG composed of spiking neurons was used to investigate the role of sensory feedback in gait generation and transition. We found that the proprioceptive sensory inputs are essential in obtaining the walking gait, whereas the trotting gait is more under central (CPG) influence compared to that of the peripheral or sensory feedback.

     This thesis work sheds light on understanding the neural control mechanisms behind vertebrate locomotion. Additionally, both neuro-mechanical models can be used for further investigations in finding new control algorithms which give robust, adaptive, efficient and realistic stepping in each leg, which would be advantageous since it can be implemented on a controller of a quadruped-robotic device.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. xiv, 99 p.
Series
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2011:20
Keyword
Locomotion, Computer simulation, Central pattern generator, System identification, Gait transition, Sensory feedback, Spiking neural networks
National Category
Computer Science Bioinformatics (Computational Biology) Computer Systems Control Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-47362 (URN)978-91-7501-168-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Note
This work is Funded by Swedish International Development cooperation Agency (SIDA). QC 20111110Available from: 2011-11-10 Created: 2011-11-08 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved

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