%A Bradly Alicea %T Natural Variation and Neuromechanical Systems %X Natural variation plays an important but subtle and often ignored role in neuromechanical systems. This is especially important when designing for living or hybrid systems which involve a biological or self-assembling component. Accounting for natural variation can be accomplished by taking a population phenomics approach to modeling and analyzing such systems. I will advocate the position that noise in neuromechanical systems is partially represented by natural variation inherent in user physiology. Furthermore, this noise can be augmentative in systems that couple physiological systems with technology. There are several tools and approaches that can be borrowed from computational biology to characterize the populations of users as they interact with the technology. In addition to transplanted approaches, the potential of natural variation can be understood as having a range of effects on both the individual's physiology and function of the living/hybrid system over time. Finally, accounting for natural variation can be put to good use in human-machine system design, as three prescriptions for exploiting variation in design are proposed. %D 2009 %K Neuromechanics, Biomimetic Design, Human Variation, Stochastic Systems, Human-Machine Interaction %L cogprints6698