BE thesis title: Studies in neuroengineering: Decoupled, noninteractive control of the neuromusculoskeletal system.

Author: Robin T. Bye.

Supervisor: Dr. Peter D. Neilson.

Assessor: Dr. Branko Celler

Institution: School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, The University of New South Wales, Australia.

Degree awarded: Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (Honours Class 1)

Completion date: 18 December 2003.

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Abstract

24 subjects performed a visual pursuit tracking experiment involving both a minimum phase and a non-minimum phase system. The aim was to test the hypothesis that the central nervous system is capable of acting as an adaptive neural controller that decouples the nonlinear, highly cross-coupled dynamics of the neuromusculoskeletal system, thus forming independent visuomotor channels of control, while at the same time rendering most of the input-output dynamics unobservable. A novel statistical analysis of measures such as coherence, gain, and phase extractedfrom data collected in the experiment indicated that decoupled, noninteractive control had indeed been employed, most notably in the minimum phase system. This result contradicts existing views on independent visuomotor channels, where these channels are thought to correspond to independent neuroanatomical pathways. The result is a valuable one in the pursuit of complete understanding of motor behaviour and demands further experiments and investigations as well as a more thorough analysis of the existing data collected in this experiment.

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