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Design of Perturbation Signals for the Estimation of Proprioceptive Reflexes

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3 Author(s)
Schouten, A.C. ; Delft Univ. of Technol., Delft ; de Vlugt, E. ; van der Helm, F.C.T.

This study aimed to identify the functional contribution of reflexes to human motor control during posture maintenance. Continuous random force disturbances were applied at the hand while the subjects were instructed to minimize the deviation resulting from the force disturbances. The results were analyzed in the frequency domain with frequency response functions (FRFs). Two FRFs were evaluated: 1) the mechanical admittance and 2) the reflexive impedance, expressing the dynamic relation between position and muscle activation (assessed via electromyography, EMG). The reflexive impedance is a direct measure of the proprioceptive reflexes. To record all relevant dynamical characteristics of the arm, wide bandwidth signals were used as force disturbance. Distributing the power of the signal over fewer frequencies within the bandwidth improved the signal-to-noise-ratio SNR of the EMG recordings, facilitating reliable estimation of the reflexive impedance. The coherence indicated that the relation between force disturbance and EMG is linear under the given conditions and improved with the SNR. The method of designing disturbance signals and the estimation of the reflexive impedance are useful for studies aiming to quantify proprioceptive reflexes and to investigate its functionality.

Published in:

Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 2008

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