Journal home
Advance online publication
Current issue
Archive
Press releases
Supplements
Focuses
Guide to authors
Online submissionOnline submission
Permissions
For referees
Free online issue
Contact the journal
Subscribe
Advertising
work@npg
naturereprints
About this site
For librarians
 
NPG Resources
Nature
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Nature Cell Biology
Nature Medicine
Neuroscience Gateway
UCSD-Nature Signaling Gateway
NPG Subject areas
Biotechnology
Cancer
Chemistry
Clinical Medicine
Dentistry
Development
Drug Discovery
Earth Sciences
Evolution & Ecology
Genetics
Immunology
Materials Science
Medical Research
Microbiology
Molecular Cell Biology
Neuroscience
Pharmacology
Physics
Browse all publications
Article
Nature Neuroscience  5, 1226 - 1235 (2002)
doi:10.1038/nn963

Optimal feedback control as a theory of motor coordination

Emanuel Todorov1 & Michael I. Jordan2

1  Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, California 92093-0515, USA

2  Division of Computer Science and Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, 731 Soda Hall #1776, Berkeley, California 94720-1776, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Emanuel Todorov todorov@cogsci.ucsd.edu
A central problem in motor control is understanding how the many biomechanical degrees of freedom are coordinated to achieve a common goal. An especially puzzling aspect of coordination is that behavioral goals are achieved reliably and repeatedly with movements rarely reproducible in their detail. Existing theoretical frameworks emphasize either goal achievement or the richness of motor variability, but fail to reconcile the two. Here we propose an alternative theory based on stochastic optimal feedback control. We show that the optimal strategy in the face of uncertainty is to allow variability in redundant (task-irrelevant) dimensions. This strategy does not enforce a desired trajectory, but uses feedback more intelligently, correcting only those deviations that interfere with task goals. From this framework, task-constrained variability, goal-directed corrections, motor synergies, controlled parameters, simplifying rules and discrete coordination modes emerge naturally. We present experimental results from a range of motor tasks to support this theory.

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS
These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated

REFERENCE
Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos
Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences
 See all 2 matches for Reference

REVIEWS
Opinion: Cancer as a robust system: implications for anticancer therapy
Nature Reviews Cancer Perspective (01 Mar 2004)
 See all 4 matches for Reviews

NEWS AND VIEWS
Optimal strategies for movement: success with variability
Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Nov 2002)
Neurobiology: Making smooth moves
Nature News and Views (20 Aug 1998)
 See all 3 matches for News And Views

RESEARCH
Signal-dependent noise determines motor planning
Nature Letters to Editor (20 Aug 1998)
 See all 5 matches for Research

 Top
Abstract
Previous | Next
Table of contents
Full textFull text
Download PDFDownload PDF
Send to a friendSend to a friend
Save this linkSave this link

natureevents

Figures & Tables
Supplementary info
See also: News and Views by Scott
Export citation
natureproducts

Search buyers guide:

 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Nature Neuroscience
ISSN: 1097-6256
EISSN: 1546-1726
Journal home | Advance online publication | Current issue | Archive | Press releases | Supplements | Focuses | For authors | Online submission | Permissions | For referees | Free online issue | About the journal | Contact the journal | Subscribe | Advertising | work@npg | naturereprints | About this site | For librarians
Nature Publishing Group, publisher of Nature, and other science journals and reference works©2002 Nature Publishing Group | Privacy policy