Theoretical Evidence Supporting Harmonic Reaching Trajectories

Carlo Tiseo, Sydney Rebecca Charitos, Michael Mistry

Minimum Jerk trajectories have been long thought to be the reference trajectories for human movements due to their impressive similarity with human movements. Nevertheless, minimum jerk trajectories are not the only choice for $C^\infty$ (i.e., smooth) functions. For example, harmonic trajectories are smooth functions that can be superimposed to describe the evolution of physical systems. This paper analyses the possibility that motor control plans using harmonic trajectories, will be experimentally observed to have a minimum jerk likeness due to control signals being transported through the Central Nervous System (CNS) and muscle-skeletal system. We tested our theory on a 3-link arm simulation using a recently developed planner that we reformulated into a motor control architecture, inspired by the passive motion paradigm. The arm performed 100 movements, reaching for each target defined by the clock experiment. We analysed the shape of the trajectory planned in the CNS and executed in the physical simulator. We observed that even under ideal conditions (i.e., absence of delays and noise) the executed trajectories are similar to a minimum jerk trajectory; thus, supporting the thesis that the human brain might plan harmonic trajectories.

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