Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 71, Issue 5, pp 375–385

Hard-wired central pattern generators for quadrupedal locomotion

  • J. J. Collins
  • S. A. Richmond

DOI: 10.1007/BF00198915

Cite this article as:
Collins, J.J. & Richmond, S.A. Biol. Cybern. (1994) 71: 375. doi:10.1007/BF00198915


Animal locomotion is generated and controlled, in part, by a central pattern generator (CPG), which is an intraspinal network of neurons capable of producing rhythmic output. In the present work, it is demonstrated that a hard-wired CPG model, made up of four coupled nonlinear oscillators, can produce multiple phase-locked oscillation patterns that correspond to three common quadrupedal gaits — the walk, trot, and bound. Transitions between the different gaits are generated by varying the network's driving signal and/or by altering internal oscillator parameters. The above in numero results are obtained without changing the relative strengths or the polarities of the system's synaptic interconnections, i.e., the network maintains an invariant coupling architecture. It is also shown that the ability of the hard-wired CPG network to produce and switch between multiple gait patterns is a model-independent phenomenon, i.e., it does not depend upon the detailed dynamics of the component oscillators and/or the nature of the inter-oscillator coupling. Three different neuronal oscillator models — the Stein neuronal model, the Van der Pol oscillator, and the FitzHugh-Nagumo model -and two different coupling schemes are incorporated into the network without impeding its ability to produce the three quadrupedal gaits and the aforementioned gait transitions.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Collins
    • 1
  • S. A. Richmond
    • 1
  1. 1.NeuroMuscular Research Center and Department of Biomedical EngineeringBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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