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Concept: Feed-forward


In many applications entanglement must be distributed through noisy communication channels that unavoidably degrade it. Entanglement cannot be generated by local operations and classical communication (LOCC), implying that once it has been distributed it is not possible to recreate it by LOCC. Recovery of entanglement by purely local control is however not forbidden in the presence of non-Markovian dynamics, and here we demonstrate in two all-optical experiments that such entanglement restoration can even be achieved on-demand. First, we implement an open-loop control scheme based on a purely local operation, without acquiring any information on the environment; then, we use a closed-loop scheme in which the environment is measured, the outcome controling the local operations on the system. The restored entanglement is a manifestation of “hidden” quantum correlations resumed by the local control. Relying on local control, both schemes improve the efficiency of entanglement sharing in distributed quantum networks.

Concepts: Environment, Natural environment, Experiment, Control theory, Control, Process control, Feed-forward, Open-loop controller


Our actions often do not match our intentions when there are external disturbances such as turbulence. We derived a novel modeling approach for determining this motor intent from targeted reaching motions that are disturbed by an unexpected force. First, we demonstrated how to mathematically invert both feedforward (predictive) and feedback controls to obtain an intended trajectory. We next examined the model’s sensitivity to a realistic range of parameter uncertainties, and found that the expected inaccuracy due to all possible parameter mis-estimations was less than typical movement-to-movement variations seen when humans reach to similar targets. The largest sensitivity arose mainly from uncertainty in joint stiffnesses. Humans cannot change their intent until they acquire sensory feedback, therefore we tested the hypothesis that a straight-line intent should be evident for at least the first 120 milliseconds following the onset of a disturbance. As expected, the intended trajectory showed no change from undisturbed reaching for more than 150 milliseconds after the disturbance onset. Beyond this point, however, we detected a change in intent in five out of eight subjects, surprisingly even when the hand is already near the target. Knowing such an intent signal is broadly applicable: enhanced human-machine interaction, the study of impaired intent in neural disorders, the real-time determination (and manipulation) of error in training, and complex systems that embody planning such as brain machine interfaces, team sports, crowds, or swarms. In addition, observing intent as it changes might act as a window into the mechanisms of planning, correction, and learning.

Concepts: Scientific method, Interaction, Error, Control theory, Cybernetics, Feedback, Uncertainty, Feed-forward


Auditory feedback plays an important role in monitoring vocal output and determining when adjustments are necessary. In this study a group of untrained singers participated in a frequency altered feedback experiment to examine if accuracy at matching a note could predict the degree of compensation to auditory feedback that was shifted in frequency. Participants were presented with a target note and instructed to match the note in pitch and duration. Following the onset of the participants' vocalizations their vocal pitch was shifted down one semi-tone at a random time during their utterance. This altered auditory feedback was instantaneously presented back to them through headphones. Results indicated that note matching accuracy did not correlate with compensation magnitude, however, a significant correlation was found between baseline variability and compensation magnitude. These results suggest that individuals with a more stable baseline fundamental frequency rely more on feedforward control mechanisms than individuals with more variable vocal production. This increased weighting of feedforward control means they are less sensitive to mismatches between their intended vocal production and auditory feedback.

Concepts: Control theory, Frequency, Singing, Fourier analysis, Control system, Feed-forward, Vocal range


Physiological levels of ROS support neurite outgrowth and axonal specification, but the mechanisms by which ROS are able to shape neurons remain unknown. Ca(2+), a broad intracellular second messenger, promotes both Rac1 activation and neurite extension. Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum, mediated by both the IP3R1 and ryanodine receptor (RyR) channels, requires physiological ROS levels that are mainly sustained by the NADPH oxidase (NOX) complex. In this work, we explore the contribution of the link between NOX and RyR-mediated Ca(2+) release toward axonal specification of rat hippocampal neurons. Using genetic approaches, we find that NOX activation promotes both axonal development and Rac1 activation through a RyR-mediated mechanism, which in turn activates NOX through Rac1, one of the NOX subunits. Collectively, these data suggest a feedforward mechanism that integrates both NOX activity and RyR-mediated Ca(2+) release to support cellular mechanisms involved in axon development.

Concepts: Neuron, Endoplasmic reticulum, Receptor, Ryanodine receptor, Axon, NADPH oxidase, Feed-forward


Neuromodulation of spinal sensorimotor circuits improves motor control in animal models and humans with spinal cord injury. With common neuromodulation devices, electrical stimulation parameters are tuned manually and remain constant during movement. We developed a mechanistic framework to optimize neuromodulation in real time to achieve high-fidelity control of leg kinematics during locomotion in rats. We first uncovered relationships between neuromodulation parameters and recruitment of distinct sensorimotor circuits, resulting in predictive adjustments of leg kinematics. Second, we established a technological platform with embedded control policies that integrated robust movement feedback and feed-forward control loops in real time. These developments allowed us to conceive a neuroprosthetic system that controlled a broad range of foot trajectories during continuous locomotion in paralyzed rats. Animals with complete spinal cord injury performed more than 1000 successive steps without failure, and were able to climb staircases of various heights and lengths with precision and fluidity. Beyond therapeutic potential, these findings provide a conceptual and technical framework to personalize neuromodulation treatments for other neurological disorders.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Spinal cord, Neuroscience, Neurology, Control theory, Feedback, Model predictive control, Feed-forward


Cortical stimulation through electrocorticographic (ECoG) electrodes is a potential method for providing sensory feedback in future prosthetic and rehabilitative applications. Here we evaluate human subjects' ability to continuously modulate their motor behavior based on feedback from direct surface stimulation of the somatosensory cortex. Subjects wore a dataglove that measured their hand aperture position and received one of three stimuli over the hand sensory cortex based on their current hand position as compared to a target aperture position. Using cortical stimulation feedback, subjects adjusted their hand aperture to move towards the target aperture region. One subject was able to achieve accuracies and R2 values well above chance (best performance: R2 = 0.93; accuracy = 0.76/1). Performance dropped during the catch trial (same stimulus independent of the position) to below chance levels, suggesting that the subject had been using the varied sensory feedback to modulate their motor behavior. To our knowledge, this study represents one of the first demonstrations of using direct cortical surface stimulation of the human sensory cortex to perform a motor task, and is a first step towards developing closed-loop human sensorimotor brain-computer interfaces.

Concepts: Psychology, Somatosensory system, Control theory, Cybernetics, Feedback, PID controller, Controller, Feed-forward


Gene expression plays a central role in the orchestration of cellular processes. The use of inducible promoters to change the expression level of a gene from its physiological level has significantly contributed to the understanding of the functioning of regulatory networks. However, from a quantitative point of view, their use is limited to short-term, population-scale studies to average out cell-to-cell variability and gene expression noise and limit the nonpredictable effects of internal feedback loops that may antagonize the inducer action. Here, we show that, by implementing an external feedback loop, one can tightly control the expression of a gene over many cell generations with quantitative accuracy. To reach this goal, we developed a platform for real-time, closed-loop control of gene expression in yeast that integrates microscopy for monitoring gene expression at the cell level, microfluidics to manipulate the cells' environment, and original software for automated imaging, quantification, and model predictive control. By using an endogenous osmostress responsive promoter and playing with the osmolarity of the cells environment, we show that long-term control can, indeed, be achieved for both time-constant and time-varying target profiles at the population and even the single-cell levels. Importantly, we provide evidence that real-time control can dynamically limit the effects of gene expression stochasticity. We anticipate that our method will be useful to quantitatively probe the dynamic properties of cellular processes and drive complex, synthetically engineered networks.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Control theory, Cybernetics, Feedback, Feed-forward


Fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) are a prominent class of forebrain GABAergic cells implicated in two seemingly independent network functions: gain control and network plasticity. Little is known, however, about how these roles interact. Here, we use a combination of cell-type-specific ablation, optogenetics, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavior to describe a unified mechanism by which striatal FSIs control burst firing, calcium influx, and synaptic plasticity in neighboring medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs). In vivo silencing of FSIs increased bursting, calcium transients, and AMPA/NMDA ratios in MSNs. In a motor sequence task, FSI silencing increased the frequency of calcium transients but reduced the specificity with which transients aligned to individual task events. Consistent with this, ablation of FSIs disrupted the acquisition of striatum-dependent egocentric learning strategies. Together, our data support a model in which feedforward inhibition from FSIs temporally restricts MSN bursting and calcium-dependent synaptic plasticity to facilitate striatum-dependent sequence learning.

Concepts: Psychology, Action potential, Neuroscience, Learning, Knowledge, Feed-forward, Sequence learning, Bursting


Neuronal oscillations provide a window for understanding the brain dynamics that organize the flow of information from sensory to memory areas. While it has been suggested that gamma power reflects feedforward processing and alpha oscillations feedback control, it remains unknown how these oscillations dynamically interact. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) data was acquired from healthy subjects who were cued to either remember or not remember presented pictures. Our analysis revealed that in anticipation of a picture to be remembered, alpha power decreased while the cross-frequency coupling between gamma power and alpha phase increased. A measure of directionality between alpha phase and gamma power predicted individual ability to encode memory: stronger control of alpha phase over gamma power was associated with better memory. These findings demonstrate that encoding of visual information is reflected by a state determined by the interaction between alpha and gamma activity.

Concepts: Brain, Human brain, Memory, Oscillation, Control theory, Feedback, Control system, Feed-forward


Postural stability of older subjects can be estimated during orthostatic equilibrium. However, dynamic equilibrium is also important to investigate risks of fall. It implies different interpretations of measures given by force plates. Same dependant variables (e.g. center of pressure displacement) cannot be interpreted the same ways depending of the type of equilibrium that is investigated. In particular, sways increases during dynamic equilibrium and before movement execution may reflect an improvement of feedforward control.

Concepts: Improve, Torque, Thermodynamics, Orthostatic hypotension, Interpretation, Feed-forward, Balance, Aerospace engineering