Smart switching in feedforward control of grip force during manipulation of elastic objects Academic Article uri icon


  • Switching systems are common in artificial control systems. Here, we suggest that the brain adopts a switched feedforward control of grip forces during manipulation of objects. We measured how participants modulated grip force when interacting with soft and rigid virtual springs when stiffness varied nearly continuously between trials. We identified a sudden phase transition between two forms of feedforward control that differed in the timing of the synchronization between the anticipated load force and the applied grip force. The switch occurred several trials after a threshold stiffness level. These results suggest that in the control of grip force, the brain acts as a switching control system. This opens new research questions as to the nature of the discrete state variables that drive the switching.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017