Theoretical Evidence Supporting Harmonic Reaching Trajectories

Carlo Tiseo, Sydney Rebecca Charitos, Michael Mistry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Minimum Jerk trajectories have been long thought to be the reference trajectories for human movements due to their impressive similarity with human movements. Nevertheless, minimum jerk trajectories are not the only choice for $C^\infty$ (i.e., smooth) functions. For example, harmonic trajectories are smooth functions that can be superimposed to describe the evolution of physical systems. This paper analyses the possibility that motor control plans using harmonic trajectories, will be experimentally observed to have a minimum jerk likeness due to control signals being transported through the Central Nervous System (CNS) and muscle-skeletal system. We tested our theory on a 3-link arm simulation using a recently developed planner that we reformulated into a motor control architecture, inspired by the passive motion paradigm. The arm performed 100 movements, reaching for each target defined by the clock experiment. We analysed the shape of the trajectory planned in the CNS and executed in the physical simulator. We observed that even under ideal conditions (i.e., absence of delays and noise) the executed trajectories are similar to a minimum jerk trajectory; thus, supporting the thesis that the human brain might plan harmonic trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER)
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-4337-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-4338-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Event2021 10th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER) - vritual
Duration: 4 May 20216 May 2021


Conference2021 10th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER)
Abbreviated titleNER
Internet address


  • cs.RO


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