What appears to be an effortless movement is in fact the final product of a series of complex processes that rely on the integration of sensory information with motor commands.
Work at the Neural Control of Movement Laboratory focuses on the hand as a model to investigate the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration responsible for motor learning and control. The questions addressed by our work include the role of vision and tactile input for learning and controlling object manipulation, neural mechanisms underlying the synergistic control of multiple hand muscles, and the effect of neurological disorders and neuropathies on hand control. We use a number of complementary experimental and analytical approaches ranging from measuring the electrical activity of muscles (EMG) and electrotactile stimulation to recording digit motion and forces associated with object manipulation.
Lukos JR, Choi JY, Santello M (2013). Grasping uncertainty: Effects of sensorimotor memories on high-level planning of dexterous manipulation. J. Neurophysiol. 109(12):2937-46.
Fu Q, Santello M (2012). Context-dependent learning interferes with visuomotor transformations for manipulation planning. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(43):15086-15092.
Bicchi A, Gabiccini M, Santello M (2011). Modeling force distribution in natural and artificial hands with soft synergies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 3153-3161.
Lukos, Ansuini and Santello (2008). Anticipatory control of grasping: independence of sensorimotor memories for kinematics and kinetics. Journal of Neuroscience 28: 12765-12774
Winges, Kornatz and Santello (2008). Common input to motor units of intrinsic and extrinsic hand muscles during two-digit object hold. Journal of Neurophysiology 99:1119-1126.