Biological Cybernetics

, 95:555 | Cite as

Dynamic control of the central pattern generator for locomotion

  • R. Jacob Vogelstein
  • Francesco Tenore
  • Ralph Etienne-Cummings
  • M. Anthony Lewis
  • Avis H. Cohen
Original Paper


We show that an ongoing locomotor pattern can be dynamically controlled by applying discrete pulses of electrical stimulation to the central pattern generator (CPG) for locomotion. Data are presented from a pair of experiments on biological (wetware) and electrical (hardware) models of the CPG demonstrating that stimulation causes brief deviations from the CPG’s limit cycle activity. The exact characteristics of the deviation depend strongly on the phase of stimulation. Applications of this work are illustrated by examples showing how locomotion can be controlled by using a feedback loop to monitor CPG activity and applying stimuli at the appropriate times to modulate motor output. Eventually, this approach could lead to development of a neuroprosthetic device for restoring locomotion after paralysis.


Spinal Cord Stimulation Ventral Root Burst Duration Burst Length Central Pattern Generator Network 
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.

List of Abbreviations


Central pattern generator


Digital-to-analog converter


Half-center oscillator


Limit cycle oscillator


Left hip extensor


Left hip flexor


Printed circuit board


Phase-dependent response


Right hip extensor


Right hip flexor


Spike-frequency adaptation


Zero-phase marker


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Jacob Vogelstein
    • 1
  • Francesco Tenore
    • 2
  • Ralph Etienne-Cummings
    • 2
  • M. Anthony Lewis
    • 3
  • Avis H. Cohen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Iguana Robotics, Inc.UrbanaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Institute for Systems ResearchUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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