High-level spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis of all four limbs, leading to decreased patient independence and quality of life. Coordinated functional electrical stimulation (FES) of paralyzed muscles can be used to restore some motor function in the upper extremity. To coordinate functional movements, FES controllers should be developed to exploit the complex characteristics of human movement and produce the intended movement kinematics and/or kinetics. Here, we demonstrate the ability of a controller trained using reinforcement learning to generate desired movements of a horizontal planar musculoskeletal model of the human arm with 2 degrees of freedom and 6 actuators. The controller is given information about the kinematics of the arm, but not the internal state of the actuators. In particular, we demonstrate that a technique called “hindsight experience replay” can improve controller performance while also decreasing controller training time.
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