Predicting human walking gaits with a simple planar model

Anne Elizabeth Martin, James P. Schmiedeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Models of human walking with moderate complexity have the potential to accurately capture both joint kinematics and whole body energetics, thereby offering more simultaneous information than very simple models and less computational cost than very complex models. This work examines four- and six-link planar biped models with knees and rigid circular feet. The two differ in that the six-link model includes ankle joints. Stable periodic walking gaits are generated for both models using a hybrid zero dynamics-based control approach. To establish a baseline of how well the models can approximate normal human walking, gaits were optimized to match experimental human walking data, ranging in speed from very slow to very fast. The six-link model well matched the experimental step length, speed, and mean absolute power, while the four-link model did not, indicating that ankle work is a critical element in human walking models of this type. Beyond simply matching human data, the six-link model can be used in an optimization framework to predict normal human walking using a torque-squared objective function. The model well predicted experimental step length, joint motions, and mean absolute power over the full range of speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1416-1421
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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