Testing the Ability to Represent and Control a Contact Force

E. Galofaro*, R. A. Scheidt, F. A. Mussa-Ivaldi, M. Casadio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While the concept of force is solidly grounded in Newtonian mechanics, it is not known if it is also represented in a consistent way by our brains as they control interactions of the hand with external objects. For example, a force of 10 N applied against different springs will cause different amounts of displacement. Are we able to represent 10 N in a way that is independent of the effects of applying such force to different objects? Here, we developed a simple method to address this question by engaging subjects in a task whose success depends critically upon the ability to exert a fixed force against different simulated springs. Our preliminary findings indicate that while this task is difficult, subjects learn after some training to exert the same force against different springs and in different directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiosystems and Biorobotics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBiosystems and Biorobotics
ISSN (Print)2195-3562
ISSN (Electronic)2195-3570

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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