PhD Thesis Research Proposal Seminar: Impaired and augmented control of upper limb motor function after stroke Event as iCalendar

(Exercise Sciences)

01 September 2017

12:30 - 1:30pm

Venue: 721-234

Location: Tāmaki Campus, 261 Morrin Road, St Johns, Auckland

Contact email:



Speaker: Pablo Ortega Auriol, PhD Candidate


The use of muscle synergies has been proposed as a mechanism by which the central nervous system controls a redundant musculoskeletal system. The proposed series of experiments aims to examine properties of muscle synergies that will be important for use in a myoelectrical device controller for the upper limb. A synergy-based controller to predict intended motion of healthy and stroke survivor populations will impact the usability and wearability of current movement aid devices such as exoskeletons.

The properties of muscle synergies being addressed are related to synergies changing during fatigue, differences of synergy structure and activation between dynamic and static situations, force modulation of synergies, and finally the development of a framework for a synergy-based controller. Upper limb performance and its related synergy properties will be researched in healthy young adults and chronic stroke survivors.

The research will be conducted by calculating muscle synergies using surface electromyography, while performance parameters will be based on clinical assessment, motion capture and a force-instrumented robotic arm. Research paradigms will utilise a series of functional tasks, mainly executing isometric contractions and reaching tasks at different force levels and for different durations.

Finally, the development of a framework for a synergy-based controller, using the previously collected data, will test its feasibility and performance in predicting an intended movement, with a reduced data to mimic real-time context. It is expected that a synergy-based approach will contribute to enhancing movement aid devices' performance and usability.