Control of prosthetic motion using neuron-like elements

S. Wolpert, A. J. Laffely, J. A. Hilton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


In order to investigate neuronally-derived algorithms for feedback and control, one joint of a conventional robotic arm was fitted with sensory and motor devices consistent with biological sensory-motor models. In this system, a simple potentiometer senses angular position of a given joint. From this signal, the forward and reverse velocity are derived, as are the acceleration and deceleration. Controlling the stepper motor that drives this joint is an IC-based artificial neuron that has been specifically designed for this task. It possesses multiple excitatory and inhibitory input ports, and its output signals are amplified to a full five-volt level. The output pulse train from the motor nerve circuit is also used to clock an on-chip four-bit bidirectional shift register that excites the four phases of the stepper motor in the proper forward or reverse sequence. The system has been constructed and successfully used to demonstrate empirical physiologically-based models of inhibitory positional feedback and synaptic learning. Easily adapted to other neuronal circuits, this system will serve as an excellent platform for the design and verification of biological models of motion, as applied to mechanical limbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCase Studies in Medical Instrument Design 1991
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)0780306279, 9780780306271
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Event1991 Case Studies in Medical Instrument Design, MID 1991 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Oct 29 1991Oct 30 1991

Publication series

NameCase Studies in Medical Instrument Design 1991


Conference1991 Case Studies in Medical Instrument Design, MID 1991
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Instrumentation


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