[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have combined kinematic and electromyogram (EMG) analysis of running Blaberus discoidalis to examine how middle and hind leg kinematics vary with running speed and how the fast depressor coxa (Df) and fast extensor tibia (FETi) motor neurons affect kinematic parameters. In the range 2.5-10 Hz, B. discoidalis increases step frequency by altering the joint velocity and by reducing the time required for the transition from flexion to extension. For both Df and FETi the timing of recruitment coincides with the maximal frequency seen for the respective slow motor neurons. Df is first recruited at the beginning of coxa-femur (CF) extension. FETi is recruited in the latter half of femur-tibia (FT) extension during stance. Single muscle potentials produced by these fast motor neurons do not have pronounced effects on joint angular velocity during running. The transition from CF flexion to extension was abbreviated in those cycles with a Df potential occurring during the transition. One effect of Df activity during running may be to phase shift the beginning of joint extension so that the transition is sharpened. FETi is associated with greater FT extension at higher running speeds and may be necessary to overcome high joint torques at extended FT joint angles.
Journal of Comparative Physiology 02/1998; 182(1):23-33. · 1.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have combined high-speed video motion analysis of leg movements with electromyogram (EMG) recordings from leg muscles in cockroaches running on a treadmill. The mesothoracic (T2) and metathoracic (T3) legs have different kinematics. While in each leg the coxa-femur (CF) joint moves in unison with the femurtibia (FT) joint, the relative joint excursions differ between T2 and T3 legs. In T3 legs, the two joints move through approximately the same excursion. In T2 legs, the FT joint moves through a narrower range of angles than the CF joint. In spite of these differences in motion, no differences between the T2 and T3 legs were seen in timing or qualitative patterns of depressor coxa and extensor tibia activity. The average firing frequencies of slow depressor coxa (Ds) and slow extensor tibia (SETi) motor neurons are directly proportional to the average angular velocity of their joints during stance. The average Ds and SETi firing frequency appears to be modulated on a cycle-by-cycle basis to control running speed and orientation. In contrast, while the frequency variations within Ds and SETi bursts were consistent across cycles, the variations within each burst did not parallel variations in the velocity of the relevant joints.
Journal of Comparative Physiology 02/1998; 182(1):11-22. · 1.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the design and simulation of a cockroach-like
hexapod robot which is under construction for the purpose of testing
control principles which are being extracted from the cockroach. The
cockroach was chosen because of its remarkable running and climbing
capabilities and because much is known about its biomechanics and
control. The robot is designed with five, four, and three degrees of
freedom in the front, middle and rear legs, respectively, to permit it
to mimic the different functions of cockroach legs. Pneumatic cylinders
actuate each joint and provide opposing muscle-like forces to actuate
the joints. Pulse-width modulation controls the actuators with the
necessary smoothness and precision. A dynamic simulation has been
developed to predict loads on the structure and the required joint
Robotics and Automation, 1997. Proceedings., 1997 IEEE International Conference on; 05/1997
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The escape system of the American cockroach is both fast and directional. In response to wind stimulation both of these characteristics are largely due to the properties of the ventral giant interneurons (vGIs), which conduct sensory information from the cerci on the rear of the animal to type A thoracic interneurons (TIAs) in the thoracic ganglia. The cockroach also escapes from tactile stimuli, and although vGIs are not involved in tactile-mediated escapes, the same thoracic interneurons process tactile sensory information. The response of TIAs to tactile information is typically biphasic. A rapid initial depolarization is followed by a longer latency depolarization that encodes most if not all of the directional information in the tactile stimulus. We report here that the biphasic response of TIAs to tactile stimulation is caused by two separate conducting pathways from the point of stimulation to the thoracic ganglia. Phase 1 is generated by mechanical conduction along the animal's body cuticle or other physical structures. It cannot be eliminated by complete lesion of the nerve cord, and it is not evoked in response to electrical stimulation of abdominal nerves that contain the axons of sensory receptors in abdominal segments. However, it can be eliminated by lesioning the abdominal nerve cord and nerve 7 of the metathoracic ganglion together, suggesting that the relevant sensory structures send axons in nerve 7 and abdominal nerves of anterior abdominal ganglia. Phase 2 of the TIA tactile response is generated by a typical neural pathway that includes mechanoreceptors in each abdominal segment, which project to interneurons with axons in either abdominal connective. Those interneurons with inputs from receptors that are ipsilateral to their axon have a greater influence on TIAs than those that receive inputs from the contralateral side. The phase 1 response has an important role in reducing initiation time for the escape response. Animals in which the phase 2 pathway has been eliminated by lesion of the abdominal nerve cord are still capable of generating a partial startle response with a typically short latency even when stimulated posterior to the lesion.
Journal of Neurobiology 02/1995; 26(1):33-46. · 3.05 Impact Factor