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  1. A loss of individuated finger movement affects critical aspects of daily activities. There is a need to develop neural-machine interface techniques that can continuously decode single finger movements. In this preliminary study, we evaluated a novel decoding method that used finger-specific motoneuron firing frequency to estimate joint kinematics and fingertip forces. High-density electromyogram (EMG) signals were obtained during which index or middle fingers produced either dynamic flexion movements or isometric flexion forces. A source separation method was used to extract motor unit (MU) firing activities from a single trial. A separate validation trial was used to only retain the MUs associated with a particular finger. The finger-specific MU firing activities were then used to estimate individual finger joint angles and isometric forces in a third trial using a regression method. Our results showed that the MU firing based approach led to smaller prediction errors for both joint angles and forces compared with the conventional EMG amplitude based method. The outcomes can help develop intuitive neural-machine interface techniques that allow continuous single-finger level control of robotic hands. In addition, the previously obtained MU separation information was applied directly to new data, and it is therefore possible to enable online extraction ofmore »MU firing activities for real-time neural-machine interactions.« less
  2. The platooning of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) is expected to have a transformative impact on road transportation, e.g., enhancing highway safety, improving traffic utility, and reducing fuel consumption. Requiring only local information, distributed control schemes are scalable approaches to the coordination of multiple CAVs without using centralized communication and computation. From the perspective of multi-agent consensus control, this paper introduces a decomposition framework to model, analyze, and design the platoon system. In this framework, a platoon is naturally decomposed into four interrelated components, i.e., 1) node dynamics, 2) information flow network, 3) distributed controller, and 4) geometry formation. The classic model of each component is summarized according to the results of the literature survey; four main performance metrics, i.e., internal stability, stability margin, string stability, and coherence behavior, are discussed in the same fashion. Also, the basis of typical distributed control techniques is presented, including linear consensus control, distributed robust control, distributed sliding mode control, and distributed model predictive control.