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    Is intermittent control the source of the non-linear oscillatory component (0.2-2Hz) in human balance control?

    Loram, Ian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8125-6320, Gollee, Henrik, Kamp, Cornelis van de and Gawthrop, Peter (2022) Is intermittent control the source of the non-linear oscillatory component (0.2-2Hz) in human balance control? IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 69 (12). pp. 3623-3634. ISSN 0018-9294

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    Objective: To explain the 0.2-2Hz oscillation in human balance. Motivation: Oscillation (0.2-2 Hz) in the control signal (ankle moment) is sustained independently of external disturbances and exaggerated in Parkinsons disease. Does resonance or limit cycles in the neurophysiological feedback loop cause this oscillation We investigate two linear (non-predictive, predictive) and one non-linear (intermittent-predictive) control model (NPC, PC, IPC). Methods: Fourteen healthy participants, strapped to an actuated single segment robot with dynamics of upright standing, used natural haptic-visual feedback and myoelectric control signals from lower leg muscles to maintain balance. An input disturbance applied stepwise changes in external force. A linear time invariant model (ARX) extracted the delayed component of the control signal related linearly to the disturbance, leaving the remaining, larger, oscillatory non-linear component. We optimized model parameters and noise (observation, motor) to replicate concurrently (i) estimated-delay, (ii) time-series of the linear component, and (iii) magnitude-frequency spectrum and transient magnitude response of the non-linear component. Results (meanS.D., p<0.05): NPC produced estimated delays (0.1160.03s) significantly lower than experiment (0.1450.04s). Overall fit (i)-(iii) was (797%, 837%, 846% for NPC, PC, IPC). IPC required little or no noise. Mean frequency of experimental oscillation (0.990.16 Hz) correlated trial by trial with closed loop resonant frequency (fres), not limit cycles, nor sampling rate. NPC (0.360.08Hz) and PC (0.860.4Hz) showed fres significantly lower than IPC (0.980.2Hz). Conclusion: Human balance control requires short-term prediction. Significance: IPC mechanisms (prediction error, threshold related sampling, sequential re-initialization of open-loop predictive control) explain resonant gain without uncontrolled oscillation for healthy balance.

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