Synergetic motor control paradigm for optimizing energy efficiency of multijoint reaching via tacit learning

Mitsuhiro Hayashibe, Shingo Shimoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


A human motor system can improve its behavior toward optimal movement. The skeletal system has more degrees of freedom than the task dimensions, which incurs an ill-posed problem. The multijoint system involves complex interaction torques between joints. To produce optimal motion in terms of energy consumption, the so-called cost function based optimization has been commonly used in previous works. Even if it is a fact that an optimal motor pattern is employed phenomenologically, there is no evidence that shows the existence of a physiological process that is similar to such a mathematical optimization in our central nervous system. In this study, we aim to find a more primitive computational mechanism with a modular configuration to realize adaptability and optimality without prior knowledge of system dynamics. We propose a novel motor control paradigm based on tacit learning with task space feedback. The motor command accumulation during repetitive environmental interactions, play a major role in the learning process. It is applied to a vertical cyclic reaching which involves complex interaction torques. We evaluated whether the proposed paradigm can learn how to optimize solutions with a 3-joint, planar biomechanical model. The results demonstrate that the proposed method was valid for acquiring motor synergy and resulted in energy efficient solutions for different load conditions. The case in feedback control is largely affected by the interaction torques. In contrast, the trajectory is corrected over time with tacit learning toward optimal solutions. Energy efficient solutions were obtained by the emergence of motor synergy. During learning, the contribution from feedforward controller is augmented and the one from the feedback controller is significantly minimized down to 12% for no load at hand, 16% for a 0.5 kg load condition. The proposed paradigm could provide an optimization process in redundant system with dynamic-model-free and cost-function-free approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 28


  • Bernstein problem
  • Feedback error learning
  • Interaction torques
  • Motor synergy
  • Optimality
  • Redundancy
  • Tacit learning


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