Stick balancing on the fingertip is a complex voluntary motor task that requires the stabilization of an unstable system. For seated expert stick balancers, the time delay is 0.23 s, the shortest stick that can be balanced for 240 s is 0.32 m and there is a ° dead zone for the estimation of the vertical displacement angle in the saggital plane. These observations motivate a switching-type, pendulum–cart model for balance control which uses an internal model to compensate for the time delay by predicting the sensory consequences of the stick's movements. Numerical simulations using the semi-discretization method suggest that the feedback gains are tuned near the edge of stability. For these choices of the feedback gains, the cost function which takes into account the position of the fingertip and the corrective forces is minimized. Thus, expert stick balancers optimize control with a combination of quick manoeuvrability and minimum energy expenditures.
- Received March 12, 2016.
- Accepted May 17, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.