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IRCS / GRASP Seminar: Dana Ballard, University of Texas at Austin, “Movement Coding Strategies in Human Motor Control”

February 6, 2015 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


The human motor control system is an extraordinarily complex system that consists of layers of neural control systems that address different demands of motive behavior. A primary distinction between these systems can be made on the basis of time. Systems in the forebrain operate on the order of hundreds of milliseconds to make strategic choices in dynamic trajectories whereas systems in the spinal cord have the primary goal of handling the dynamic disturbances associated with inertial and contact loads. This paper focuses on the latter, proposing an abstract formalism for spinal cord control that can account for load variations.


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Dr. Dana Ballard is currently a Professor in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in 1974 from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Ballard’s main research interest is in computational theories of the brain with emphasis on human vision. In 1985 Chris Brown and Dr. Ballard led a team that designed and built a high speed binocular camera control system capable of simulating human eye movements. The system was mounted on a robotic arm that allowed it to move at one meter per second in a two meter radius workspace. This system has led to an increased understanding of the role of behavior in vision. The theoretical aspects of that system were summarized in a paper “Animate Vision,” which received the Best Paper Award at the 1989 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. Currently, Dr. Ballard is interested in pursuing this research by using model humans in virtual reality environments. In addtion, he is interested in models of the brain that relate to detailed neural codes. A position paper on this work appeared in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.


February 6, 2015
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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