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Modelling the time-keeping function of the central pattern generator for locomotion using artificial sequential neural network

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The paper investigates the ability of a sequential neural network to model the time-keeping function (fundamental frequency oscillation) of a central pattern generator for locomotion. The intention is not to strive for biological fidelity, but rather to ensure that the network obeys the organisational and operational principles of central pattern generators developed through empirical research. The timing function serves to produce the underlying locomotor rhythm which can be transformed by nonlinear static shaping functions to construct the necessary locomotor activation patterns. Using two levels of tonic activations in the form of a step increase, a network consisting of nine processing units was successfully trained to output both sine and cosine waveforms, whose frequencies were modified in response to the level of input activation. The network's ability to generalise was demonstrated by appropriately scaling the frequency of oscillation in response to a range of input amplitudes, both within and outside the values on which it was trained. A notable and fortunate result was the model's failure to oscillate in the absence of input activation, which is a necessary property of the CPG model. It was further demonstrated that the oscillation frequency of the output waveforms exhibited both a high temporal stability and a very low sensitivity to input noise. The results indicate that the sequential neural network is a suitable candidate to model the time-keeping functions of the central pattern generator for locomotion.

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Prentice, S.D., Patla, A.E. & Stacey, D.A. Modelling the time-keeping function of the central pattern generator for locomotion using artificial sequential neural network. Med. Biol. Eng. Comput. 33, 317–322 (1995).

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