Is the human arm made of tunable springs?

Florin C. Popescu*, Zev Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A study was conducted to determine in what physiological conditions, if any, the human arm deviated from `spring-like' behavior during movement. Simple, short force pulses applied in mid-motion were found to consistently shift the desired endpoint of a movement across all four subjects. Far from being spring-like, the human arm during simple point-to-point movement did not behave in a conservative manner and could not even be described as a stable passive dynamic system around a desired trajectory. In fact, muscle properties and automatic reflex response can result in significant deviations from the desired trajectory, with over-compensation in the form of an active response, without changes in `central command'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-588
Number of pages2
JournalAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
EventProceedings of the 1996 18th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Part 2 (of 5) - Amsterdam, Neth
Duration: Oct 31 1996Nov 3 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics

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