The complexities of directing complicated high-degree of freedom interactions in the Newtonian world make the human motor system the most complicated of the brain’s large-scale systems. In particular this system exhibits separate subsystems for planning, balance, and progress-monitoring, as well as vast libraries of complex movement primitives built into the spinal cord. Roughly the subsystems can be thought of as being divided into categories of fast (less than 100 milliseconds) and slow (more than 100 milliseconds). The slow subsystems are in the forebrain. The Cortex solves the formidable problem of translating the goals of a movement described in world coordinates into a posture change. This change must also include stiffness parameters, which specify how the body will react upon contacting surfaces. Posture changes are coded to reduce bandwidth, which allows them to be carried out in a timely manner by Spinal Cord circuitry, which adds essential load balancing functionality.
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