The goal of this work is to present methodology to first evaluate the performance of an in vivo spine system and then to synthesize optimal neuromuscular control for rehabilitation interventions. This is achieved 1) by determining control system parameters such as static feedback gains and delays from experimental data, 2) by synthesizing the optimal feedback gains to attenuate the effect of disturbances to the system using modern control theory, and 3) by evaluating the robustness of the optimized closed-loop system. We also apply these methods to a postural control task, with two different control strategies, and evaluate the robustness of the spine system with respect to longer latencies found in the low back pain population. This framework could be used for rehabilitation design as discussed at the end of the paper.

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