The present study extends past work on modeling and control of stepping. The relationship between joint space kinematic data and routine motor control (i.e., open loop) during human stepping is investigated. A model of open loop stepping control using joint kinematics is described. Different functional approximations are employed to simulate experimental joint kinematic data collected on a subject stepping repeatedly over an obstacle. Results indicate that joint kinematics can be characterized by a small number of functions yielding a simple analytical description of open loop motor control. The different basis functions used and their associated coefficients reflected the qualitative behavior of joint trajectories thus allowing flexibility in the formulation of system kinematics. This approach provides a tool to study movement pathologies and movement development by identifying the basis functions governing the kinematics of motion and their associated coefficients. The model presented here is helpful in studying the segmentation of multiarticular movements into their elementary components by analytically modeling the discrete organization of motor behavior.
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