Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 56, Issue 5–6, pp 279–292 | Cite as

Deducing planning variables from experimental arm trajectories: Pitfalls and possibilities

  • J. M. Hollerbach
  • C. G. Atkeson


This paper investigates whether endpoint Cartesian variables or joint variables better describe the planning of human arm movements. For each of the two sets of planning variables, a coordination strategy of linear interpolation is chosen to generate possible trajectories, which are to be compared against experimental trajectories for best match. Joint interpolation generates curved endpoint trajectories calledN-leaved roses. Endpoint Cartesian interpolation generates curved joint trajectories, which however can be qualitatively characterized by joint reversal points.

Though these two sets of planning variables ordinarily lead to distinct predictions under linear interpolation, three situations are pointed out where the two strategies may be confused. One is a straight line through the shoulder, where the joint trajectories are also straight. Another is any trajectory approaching the outer boundary of reach, where the joint rate ratio always appears to be approaching a constant. A third is a generalization to staggered joint interpolation, where endpoint trajectories virtually identical to straight lines can sometimes be produced. In examining two different sets of experiments, it is proposed that staggered joint interpolation is the underlying planning strategy.


Endpoint Linear Interpolation Reversal Point Coordination Strategy Joint Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Hollerbach
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. G. Atkeson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Biological Information ProcessingMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Artificial Intelligence LaboratoryCambridgeUSA

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