Human Robotics: Neuromechanics and Motor Control

Burdet E, Franklin DW and Milner TE (2013)
MIT Press


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Book Review in IEEE Transactions on Haptics


Simulation software and erratum available here


This book proposes a transdisciplinary approach to investigating human motor control that synthesizes musculoskeletal biomechanics and neural control. The authors argue that this integrated approach, which uses the framework of robotics to understand sensorimotor control problems, offers a more complete and accurate description than either a purely neural computational approach or a purely biomechanical one.

The authors offer an account of motor control in which explanatory models are based on experimental evidence using mathematical approaches reminiscent of physics. These computational models yield algorithms for motor control that may be used as tools to investigate or treat diseases of the sensorimotor system and to guide the development of algorithms and hardware that can be incorporated into products designed to assist with the tasks of daily living.

The authors focus on the insights their approach offers in understanding how movement of the arm is controlled and how the control adapts to changing environments. The book begins with muscle mechanics and control, progresses in a logical manner to planning and behavior, and describes applications in neurorehabilitation and robotics. The material is self-contained, and accessible to researchers and professionals in a range of fields, including psychology, kinesiology, neurology, computer science, and robotics.