Closed-loop optogenetic neuromodulation enables high-fidelity fatigue-resistant muscle control

Guillermo Herrera-Arcos et al. ,Closed-loop optogenetic neuromodulation enables high-fidelity fatigue-resistant muscle control. Science Robotics, 9, eadi8995 (2024). DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.adi8995


Closed-loop neuroprostheses show promise in restoring motion in individuals with neurological conditions. However, conventional activation strategies based on functional electrical stimulation (FES) fail to accurately modulate muscle force and exhibit rapid fatigue because of their unphysiological recruitment mechanism. Here, we present a closed-loop control framework that leverages physiological force modulation under functional optogenetic stimulation (FOS) to enable high-fidelity muscle control for extended periods of time (>60 minutes) in vivo. We first uncovered the force modulation characteristic of FOS, showing more physiological recruitment and significantly higher modulation ranges (>320%) compared with FES. Second, we developed a neuromuscular model that accurately describes the highly nonlinear dynamics of optogenetically stimulated muscle. Third, on the basis of the optogenetic model, we demonstrated real-time control of muscle force with improved performance and fatigue resistance compared with FES. This work lays the foundation for fatigue-resistant neuroprostheses and optogenetically controlled biohybrid robots with high-fidelity force modulation.

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