Control of bimanual rhythmic movements: trading efficiency for robustness depending on the context
Ronsse, Renaud × Thonnard, Jean-Louis Lefèvre, Philippe Sepulchre, Rodolphe #
Experimental Brain Research vol:187 issue:2 pages:193-205
This paper investigates how the efficiency and robustness of a skilled rhythmic task compete against each other in the control of a bimanual movement. Human subjects juggled a puck in 2D through impacts with two metallic arms, requiring rhythmic bimanual actuation. The arms kinematics were only constrained by the position, velocity and time of impacts while the rest of the trajectory did not influence the movement of the puck. In order to expose the task robustness, we manipulated the task context in two distinct manners: the task tempo was assigned at four different values (hence manipulating the time available to plan and execute each impact movement individually); and vision was withdrawn during half of the trials (hence reducing the sensory inflows). We show that when the tempo was fast, the actuation was rhythmic (no pause in the trajectory) while at slow tempo, the actuation was discrete (with pause intervals between individual movements). Moreover, the withdrawal of visual information encouraged the rhythmic behavior at the four tested tempi. The discrete versus rhythmic behavior give different answers to the efficiency/robustness trade-off: discrete movements result in energy efficient movements, while rhythmic movements impact the puck with negative acceleration, a property preserving robustness. Moreover, we report that in all conditions the impact velocity of the arms was negatively correlated with the energy of the puck. This correlation tended to stabilize the task and was influenced by vision, revealing again different control strategies. In conclusion, this task involves different modes of control that balance efficiency and robustness, depending on the context.