288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
2014 Impact factor:

Neural Computation

March 2008, Vol. 20, No. 3, Pages 779-812
(doi: 10.1162/neco.2007.12-05-077)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Minimum Acceleration Criterion with Constraints Implies Bang-Bang Control as an Underlying Principle for Optimal Trajectories of Arm Reaching Movements
Article PDF (339.32 KB)

Rapid arm-reaching movements serve as an excellent test bed for any theory about trajectory formation. How are these movements planned? A minimum acceleration criterion has been examined in the past, and the solution obtained, based on the Euler-Poisson equation, failed to predict that the hand would begin and end the movement at rest (i.e., with zero acceleration). Therefore, this criterion was rejected in favor of the minimum jerk, which was proved to be successful in describing many features of human movements. This letter follows an alternative approach and solves the minimum acceleration problem with constraints using Pontryagin's minimum principle. We use the minimum principle to obtain minimum acceleration trajectories and use the jerk as a control signal. In order to find a solution that does not include nonphysiological impulse functions, constraints on the maximum and minimum jerk values are assumed. The analytical solution provides a three-phase piecewise constant jerk signal (bang-bang control) where the magnitude of the jerk and the two switching times depend on the magnitude of the maximum and minimum available jerk values. This result fits the observed trajectories of reaching movements and takes into account both the extrinsic coordinates and the muscle limitations in a single framework. The minimum acceleration with constraints principle is discussed as a unifying approach for many observations about the neural control of movements.