Applied Bionics and Biomechanics

Applied Bionics and Biomechanics / 2003 / Article

Open Access

Volume 1 |Article ID 685307 |

Ajay Seth, John J. McPhee, Marcus G. Pandy, "Multi-Joint Coordination of Vertical Arm Movement", Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, vol. 1, Article ID 685307, 12 pages, 2003.

Multi-Joint Coordination of Vertical Arm Movement


A model of the human arm was developed to study coordination of multi-joint movement in the vertical plane. The arm was represented as a two-segment, two-degree of freedom dynamic system with net muscle torques acting at the shoulder and elbow. Kinematic data were collected from a subject who performed unrestrained vertical movements with only the initial and final hand elevations prescribed. Movements were performed with and without a hand-held load. The method of computed torques was implemented to obtain net muscle torques, which enables position and velocity feedback to be used to estimate joint angular accelerations that produce a more stable simulation of arm movement. The model simulation was then used to calculate the contributions of the net muscle torques, gravitational torques and velocity-interaction torques to the angular accelerations of the shoulder and elbow and also to the vertical acceleration of the hand. The net muscle torques and gravity were the prime movers of the arm. The velocity-dependent effects contributed little to the dynamics of arm movement and were, in fact, insignificant when the hand was loaded. The muscles of the shoulder and elbow acted synergistically to elevate the arm in the sagittal plane. The hand was accelerated upward by the elbow first, until the point of maximum elbow flexion, after which the shoulder became the prime mover. Gravity acted consistently to accelerate the hand downward. Coordination was notably invariant to changes in external load. Some compensation for load was observed in the control, and these differences were attributed mainly to an increase in system inertia.

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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