Parallel computations for controlling an arm

J Mot Behav. 1984 Jun;16(2):171-94. doi: 10.1080/00222895.1984.10735317.


In order to control a reaching movement of the arm and body, several different computational problems must be solved. Some parallel methods that could be implemented in networks of neuron-like processors are described. Each method solves a different part of the overall task. First, a method is described for finding the torques necessary to follow a desired trajectory. The methods is more economical and more versatile than table look-up and requires very few sequential steps. Then a way of generating an internal representation of a desired trajectory is described. This method shows the trajectory one piece at a time by applying a large set of heuristic rules to a "motion blackboard" that represents the static and dynamic parameters of the state of the body at the current point in the trajectory. The computations are simplified by expressing the positions, orientations, and motions of parts of the body in terms of a single, non-accelerating, world-based frame of reference, rather than in terms of the joint-angles or an egocentric frame based on the body itself.