A neuromechanical model exploring the role of the common inhibitor motor neuron in insect locomotion

  • Mantas NarisEmail author
  • Nicholas S. Szczecinski
  • Roger D. Quinn
Original Article


In this work, we analyze a simplified, dynamical, closed-loop, neuromechanical simulation of insect joint control. We are specifically interested in two elements: (1) how slow muscle fibers may serve as temporal integrators of sensory feedback and (2) the role of common inhibitory (CI) motor neurons in resetting this integration when the commanded position changes, particularly during steady-state walking. Despite the simplicity of the model, we show that slow muscle fibers increase the accuracy of limb positioning, even for motions much shorter than the relaxation time of the fiber; this increase in accuracy is due to the slow dynamics of the fibers; the CI motor neuron plays a critical role in accelerating muscle relaxation when the limb moves to a new position; as in the animal, this architecture enables the control of the stance phase speed, independent of swing phase amplitude or duration, by changing the gain of sensory feedback to the stance phase muscles. We discuss how this relates to other models, and how it could be applied to robotic control.


Insect neuromechanics Dynamic scaling Insect neuromuscular joint control Common inhibitory motor neurons Robotics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bio-Inspired Perception and Robotics LaboratoryUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Biologically Inspired Robotics LaboratoryCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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