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Can Robots Help the Learning of Skilled Actions?

Reinkensmeyer, David J.1; Patton, James L.2

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2009 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p 43-51
doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3181912108

Learning to move skillfully requires that the motor system adjusts muscle commands based on ongoing performance errors, a process influenced by the dynamics of the task being practiced. Recent experiments from our laboratories show how robotic devices can temporarily alter task dynamics in ways that contribute to the motor learning experience, suggesting possible applications in rehabilitation and sports training.

1Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA; and 2Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Sensory Motor Performance Program Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Address for correspondence: David J. Reinkensmeyer, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3975 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: September 11, 2008.

Associate Editor: Daniel P. Ferris, Ph.D.

©2009 The American College of Sports Medicine