The brain in its body: Motor control and sensing in a biomechanical context

Hillel J. Chiel, Lena H. Ting, Örjan Ekeberg, Mitra J Z Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Although it is widely recognized that adaptive behavior emerges from the ongoing interactions among the nervous system, the body, and the environment, it has only become possible in recent years to experimentally study and to simulate these interacting systems. We briefly review work on molluscan feeding, maintenance of postural control in cats and humans, simulations of locomotion in lamprey, insect, cat and salamander, and active vibrissal sensing in rats to illustrate the insights that can be derived from studies of neural control and sensing within a biomechanical context. These studies illustrate that control may be shared between the nervous system and the periphery, that neural activity organizes degrees of freedom into biomechanically meaningful subsets, that mechanics alone may play crucial roles in enforcing gait patterns, and that mechanics of sensors is crucial for their function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12807-12814
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 14 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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