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The design of devices capable of duplicating the function of human extremities has become increasingly important in science, industry, and medicine. This paper presents an approach to the synthesis of control systems for such machines which results in extremely simple finite state controllers. The technique proposed rests on the definition of a new type of actuator, called a cybernetic actuator, which possesses the property of producing continuous controlled motion from an input which may assume only four distinct states. The application of such actuators to bioengineering systems is illustrated by the design of a control system for an artificial leg.