The impact of objective functions on control policies in closed-loop control of grasping force with a myoelectric prosthesis

Pranav Mamidanna*, Jakob Lund Dideriksen, Strahinja Dosen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Supplemental sensory feedback for myoelectric prostheses can provide both psychosocial and functional benefits during prosthesis control. However, the impact of feedback depends on multiple factors and there is insufficient understanding about the fundamental role of such feedback in prosthesis use. The framework of human motor control enables us to systematically investigate the user-prosthesis control loop. In this study, we explore how different task objectives such as speed and accuracy shape the control policy developed by participants in a prosthesis force-matching task.

APPROACH: Participants were randomly assigned to two groups that both used identical EMG control interface and prosthesis force feedback, through vibrotactile stimulation, to perform a prosthesis force-matching task. However, the groups received different task objectives specifying speed and accuracy demands. We then investigated the control policies developed by the participants. To this end, we not only evaluated how successful or fast participants were but also analyzed the behavioral strategies adopted by the participants to obtain such performance gains.

MAIN RESULTS: First, we observed that participants successfully integrated supplemental prosthesis force feedback to develop both feedforward and feedback control policies, as demanded by the task objectives. We then observed that participants who first developed a (slow) feedback policy were quickly able to adapt their policy to more stringent speed demands, by switching to a combined feedforward-feedback control strategy. However, the participants who first developed a (fast) feedforward policy were not able to change their control policy and adjust to greater accuracy demands.

SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, the results signify how the framework of human motor control can be applied to study the role of feedback in user-prosthesis interaction. The results also reveal the utility of training prosthesis users to integrate supplemental feedback into their state estimation by designing training protocols that encourage the development of combined feedforward and feedback policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056036
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • closed-loop prosthesis control
  • motor control
  • motor learning
  • myoelectric prosthesis
  • supplemental feedback
  • vibrotactile stimulation


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