Dr David Franklin

University position

Wellcome Trust RCD Fellow


Department of Engineering

Home page

http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/~dwf25/ (personal home page)

Research Themes

Systems and Computational Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


I am interested in how we are able to develop models of the external world and use these to adapt our movements to new experiences. I am currently studying the adaptation of humans to novel force fields generated with a 2 degree-of-freedom robotic manipulandum. By investigating changes in trajectories, endpoint stiffness, and electrical activity of the muscles, we hope to elucidate the underlying mechanisms by which the brain learns new tasks. The methods by which humans solve these problems can then be utilized by robots in the future to produce similar adaptation and robustness to an externally changing world.

Research Focus


Motor control

Learning and adaptation


Reflex modulation

Impedance / Limb Stiffness

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Interaction with novel dynamics (using robotics)



Daniel Wolpert

United Kingdom

Etienne Burdet Web: http://www.bg.ic.ac.uk/staff/b...

Jörn Diedrichsen Web: http://www.icn.ucl.ac.uk/motorco...

Ian Howard Web: http://www.ianhoward.de/


Mitsuo Kawato Web: http://www.cns.atr.jp/%7Ekawato/

Ted Milner Web: http://www.css.sfu.ca/sites/ncl/

Luc Selen Web: http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/~lpjs2/

Associated News Items



Berniker M, Franklin DW, Flanagan JR, Wolpert DM, Kording K (2014), “Motor learning of novel dynamics is not represented in a single global coordinate system: evaluation of mixed coordinate representations and local learning.” J Neurophysiol 111(6):1165-82 Details

Burk D, Ingram JN, Franklin DW, Shadlen MN, Wolpert DM (2014), “Motor effort alters changes of mind in sensorimotor decision making.” PLoS One 9(3):e92681 Details

Reichenbach A, Franklin DW, Zatka-Haas P, Diedrichsen J (2014), “A Dedicated Binding Mechanism for the Visual Control of Movement.” Curr Biol Details


Burdet E, Franklin DW, Milner TE (2013), “Human Robotics: Neuromechanics and Motor Control” MIT Press

Dimitriou M, Wolpert DM, Franklin DW (2013), “The temporal evolution of feedback gains rapidly update to task demands.” J Neurosci 33(26):10898-909 Details

Howard IS, Wolpert DM, Franklin DW (2013), “The effect of contextual cues on the encoding of motor memories.” J Neurophysiol 109(10):2632-44 Details


Dimitriou M, Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2012), “Task-dependent coordination of rapid bimanual motor responses.” J Neurophysiol 107(3):890-901 Details

Franklin S, Wolpert DM, Franklin DW (2012), “Visuomotor feedback gains upregulate during the learning of novel dynamics.” J Neurophysiol 108(2):467-78 Details

Howard IS, Ingram JN, Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2012), “Gone in 0.6 seconds: the encoding of motor memories depends on recent sensorimotor states.” J Neurosci 32(37):12756-68 Details

Kadiallah A, Franklin DW, Burdet E (2012), “Generalization in adaptation to stable and unstable dynamics.” PLoS One 7(10):e45075 Details


Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2011), “Feedback modulation: a window into cortical function.” Curr Biol 21(22):R924-6 Details

Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2011), “Computational mechanisms of sensorimotor control.” Neuron 72(3):425-42 Details

Kadiallah A, Liaw G, Kawato M, Franklin DW, Burdet E (2011), “Impedance control is selectively tuned to multiple directions of movement.” J Neurophysiol 106(5):2737-48 Details


Tee KP, Franklin DW, Kawato M, Milner TE, Burdet E (2010), “Concurrent adaptation of force and impedance in the redundant muscle system.” Biol Cybern 102(1):31-44 Details


Selen LP, Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2009), “Impedance control reduces instability that arises from motor noise.” J Neurosci 29(40):12606-16 Details


Franklin DW, Burdet E, Tee KP, Osu R, Chew CM, Milner TE, Kawato M (2008), “CNS learns stable, accurate, and efficient movements using a simple algorithm.” J Neurosci 28(44):11165-73 Details

Franklin DW, Wolpert DM (2008), “Specificity of Reflex Adaptation for Task-Relevant Variability.” J Neurosci 28(52):14165-14175 Details


Franklin DW, Liaw G, Milner TE, Osu R, Burdet E, Kawato M (2007), “Endpoint stiffness of the arm is directionally tuned to instability in the environment.” J Neurosci 27(29):7705-16 Details

Franklin DW, So U, Burdet E, Kawato M (2007), “Visual feedback is not necessary for the learning of novel dynamics.” PLoS ONE 2(12):e1336 Details

Ganesh G, Franklin DW, Gassert R, Imamizu H, Kawato M (2007), “Accurate real-time feedback of surface EMG during fMRI.” J Neurophysiol 97(1):912-20 Details

Milner TE, Franklin DW, Imamizu H, Kawato M (2007), “Central control of grasp: manipulation of objects with complex and simple dynamics.” Neuroimage 36(2):388-95 Details

Milner TE, Hinder MR, Franklin DW (2007), “How is somatosensory information used to adapt to changes in the mechanical environment?” Prog Brain Res 165:363-72 Details


Burdet E, Tee KP, Mareels I, Milner TE, Chew CM, Franklin DW, Osu R, Kawato M (2006), “Stability and motor adaptation in human arm movements.” Biol Cybern 94(1):20-32 Details

Milner TE, Franklin DW, Imamizu H, Kawato M (2006), “Central representation of dynamics when manipulating handheld objects.” J Neurophysiol 95(2):893-901 Details


Milner TE, Franklin DW (2005), “Impedance control and internal model use during the initial stage of adaptation to novel dynamics in humans.” J Physiol 567(Pt 2):651-64 Details

Oztop E, Franklin DW, Chaminade T, Cheng G (2005), “Human-humanoid interaction: is a humanoid robot perceived as a human?” Int J Humanoid Robotics 2: 537-559


Burdet E, Franklin DW, Osu R, Tee KP, Kawato M, Milner TE (2004), “How are internal models of unstable tasks formed?” Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 6:4491-4 Details

Franklin DW, So U, Kawato M, Milner TE (2004), “Impedance control balances stability with metabolically costly muscle activation.” J Neurophysiol 92(5):3097-105 Details


Franklin DW, Burdet E, Osu R, Kawato M, Milner TE (2003), “Functional significance of stiffness in adaptation of multijoint arm movements to stable and unstable dynamics.” Exp Brain Res 151(2):145-57 Details

Franklin DW, Milner TE (2003), “Adaptive control of stiffness to stabilize hand position with large loads.” Exp Brain Res 152(2):211-20 Details

Franklin DW, Osu R, Burdet E, Kawato M, Milner TE (2003), “Adaptation to stable and unstable dynamics achieved by combined impedance control and inverse dynamics model.” J Neurophysiol 90(5):3270-82 Details

Osu R, Burdet E, Franklin DW, Milner TE, Kawato M (2003), “Different mechanisms involved in adaptation to stable and unstable dynamics.” J Neurophysiol 90(5):3255-69 Details


Osu R, Franklin DW, Kato H, Gomi H, Domen K, Yoshioka T, Kawato M (2002), “Short- and long-term changes in joint co-contraction associated with motor learning as revealed from surface EMG.” J Neurophysiol 88(2):991-1004 Details


Burdet E, Osu R, Franklin DW, Milner TE, Kawato M (2001), “The central nervous system stabilizes unstable dynamics by learning optimal impedance.” Nature 414(6862):446-9 Details


Burdet E, Osu R, Franklin DW, Yoshioka T, Milner TE, Kawato M (2000), “A method for measuring endpoint stiffness during multi-joint arm movements.” J Biomech 33(12):1705-9 Details


Milner TE, Franklin DW (1998), “Characterization of multijoint finger stiffness: dependence on finger posture and force direction.” IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 45(11):1363-75 Details


Milner TE, Cloutier C, Leger AB, Franklin DW (1995), “Inability to activate muscles maximally during cocontraction and the effect on joint stiffness.” Exp Brain Res 107(2):293-305 Details