Neuromechanic: A computational platform for simulation and analysis of the neural control of movement

Nathan E. Bunderson*, Jeffrey T. Bingham, M. Hongchul Sohn, Lena H. Ting, Thomas J. Burkholder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Neuromusculoskeletal models solve the basic problem of determining how the body moves under the influence of external and internal forces. Existing biomechanical modeling programs often emphasize dynamics with the goal of finding a feed-forward neural program to replicate experimental data or of estimating force contributions or individual muscles. The computation of rigid-body dynamics, muscle forces, and activation of the muscles are often performed separately. We have developed an intrinsically forward computational platform (Neuromechanic, that explicitly represents the interdependencies among rigid body dynamics, frictional contact, muscle mechanics, and neural control modules. This formulation has significant advantages for optimization and forward simulation, particularly with application to neural controllers with feedback or regulatory features. Explicit inclusion of all state dependencies allows calculation of system derivatives with respect to kinematic states and muscle and neural control states, thus affording a wealth of analytical tools, including linearization, stability analyses and calculation of initial conditions for forward simulations. In this review, we describe our algorithm for generating state equations and explain how they may be used in integration, linearization, and stability analysis tools to provide structural insights into the neural control of movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1027
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Dynamics engine
  • Forward simulation
  • Linearization
  • Opensim
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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