The use of a programmable virtual environment combined with a motorized manual interface allows a unique opportunity to study the nature of human motor adaptation.  We theorize that humans make use of percepts of force and motion in order to accomplish goal directed action.  In virtual environments, novel feedback conditions and dynamic interactions may be devised that can work with or against the expectations of the human operator.  By controlling these conditions in human subject experiments, we would like to discover what features of a mechanical interaction influences the performance and learning of manual skills.

In the manual control of an object, interaction forces are not random but directly relate to the kinematics and object properties. In such situations with predictable behavior, the human motor system may be able to form a task appropriate strategy with a simple computational structure. In the current study, we examine differences between human motor adaptation responses to changes in movement specification versus object parameters. For this purpose, we chose a motor task where interaction with an external inertia is the cause of forces between the arm and an environment. The task is relevant to the study of human movement in that it requires adaptation to force perturbations, and yet the kinds of interactions are familiar to humans. We hypothesize that the human motor system controls the motion of external objects using an internal representation of the object that is distinct from the representation of the motion plan.

      Resonance Setup

Research Project Member(s)

  Huang, Felix
Gillespie, R. Brent
Related Project(s)
  Power and Information Transfer with Haptic Feedback
Upper Extremity Stroke Rehabilitation
Research Project Papers
Adaptation to Object versus Task Specifications
Project Sponsors
  Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, R24