No existing theory successfully accounts for several amazing properties of biological movements: dependence of movement speed on path curvature, isochrony (movement duration is nearly independent of its size) and the construction of more complex movements from simpler building blocks. Here we present a new theory of movement generation, based on movement invariance with respect to geometrical transformations. Several types of transformations are considered. Euclidian transformations preserve lengths and angles; affine transformations, which are less restricted, preserve parallelisms between lines, while equi-affine transformations preserve both parallelism and area. Each geometry is associated with a different measure of distance along curves. Movement timing is continuously prescribed by the brain by combining different “geometrical times” each assumed to be proportional to the measure of distance of the corresponding geometry. Movements are constructed by using a series of instantaneous (Cartan) coordinate frames. The predictions of the theory compared well with experimental observations of human drawing and walking. Equi-affine geometry was found to play a dominant role in both tasks and is complemented by affine geometry during drawing and by Euclidian geometry during locomotion. The proposed theory has far reaching implications with respect to brain representations of motion for both action production and perception.

JF - PLoS Comput Biol JA - PLoS Comput Biol VL - 5 IS - 7 UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000426 SP - e1000426 EP - PB - Public Library of Science M3 - doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000426 ER -