Dr. Neville Hogan


Neville Hogan

Dr. Neville Hogan is Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering and

Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology (MIT). He received the Dip. Eng. (with distinction) from Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland, and

M.S., M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. Following industrial experience in engineering design, he joined MIT’s school of

Engineering faculty in 1979 and has served as Head and Associate

Head of the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department’s System

Dynamics and Control Division. He is Director of the Newman

Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation and a founder and director of Interactive Motion Technologies, Inc.

Professor Hogan’s research interests include robotics, motor neuroscience, and rehabilitation engineering, emphasizing the control of physical contact and dynamic interaction. He has been awarded

Honorary Doctorates from Delft University of Technology and Dublin

Institute of Technology; the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of

Medicine in Ireland; the Henry M. Paynter Outstanding Investigator

Award, and the Rufus T. Oldenburger Medal from the Dynamic Systems and Control Division of the

American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Dynamic Primitives in Locomotor Neuro-Rehabilitation

While upper-extremity robot-aided neuro-rehabilitation is highly successful, lower-extremity robotic therapy has proven less effective. Why is that? Unimpaired humans achieve dexterity and agility that far exceeds the ability of modern robots, despite slower actuators, imprecise sensors and vastly slower communication. This spectacular performance may arise from encoding motor commands in terms of dynamic primitives (defined at attractors of a dynamic system). That, in turn, may influence how motor behavior is learned and recovered after neurological injury. At least three classes of primitives are required: submovements, oscillations and mechanical impedances, the latter necessary for interaction with the physical environment. Evidence of dynamic primitives and their influence on motor control and learning will be reviewed. Implications for locomotor neuro-rehabilitation will be discussed, including preliminary evidence that correction of abnormal lower limb mechanical impedance facilitates improved overground locomotion.