Biological Systems Thinking for Control Engineering Design
Keywords:biology, control systems, design, neuro-muscular system
AbstractArtificial neural networks and genetic algorithms are often quoted in discussions about the contribution of biological systems thinking to engineering design. This paper reviews work on the neuromuscular system, a field in which biological systems thinking could make specific contributions to the development and design of automatic control systems for mechatronics and robotics applications. The paper suggests some specific areas in which a better understanding of this biological control system could be expected to contribute to control engineering design methods in the future. Particular emphasis is given to the nonlinear nature of elements within the neuromuscular system and to processes of neural signal processing, sensing and system adaptivity. Aspects of the biological system that are of particular significance for engineering control systems include sensor fusion, sensor redundancy and parallelism, together with advanced forms of signal processing for adaptive and learning control.