New Research


Human bipedal walking: Computational model and its application

Prof: Masao Tanaka, Associate Prof: Takeshi Matsumoto, Assistant Prof: Hisashi Naito

   Bipedal walking is a typical locomotive motion in human being. The motor control mechanism is not fully revealed for human bipedal walking, and understanding its mechanism is a big research topic. It is also an important issue for establishing a design process of advanced gait assistive devices, such as lower limb prosthetics, orthotics and shoes. We have constructed a computational model composed of a musculo-skeletal structure and an artificial neuronal system which takes role in motor control. Using the model, stable walking motion of plural steps was generated after tuning neuronal system parameters. We are studying the bipedal walking suitable for healthy persons, persons with disabilities and persons using assistive devices, through computational simulation based on this model.

   For the case of walking using a hip disarticulation prosthetic (HDP), the simulated walking reproduced typical actions as a reasonable strategy for real prosthetic walking, that is, the pelvis movement for controlling prosthesis, the hyper-extension of prosthesis knee joint and the vaulting movement at healthy ankle joint. Moreover, a novel HDP was developed by using the simulation model so that amputee is able to walk more comfortably and naturally.

   We are also trying to develop a model for simulating hemiplegic walking. Pathogenesis of hemiplegia is not fully understood even in clinically due to wide variety of symptoms. We have developed a model for circumduction gait so far. Although development of more general model is not straightforward and very challenging, we believe it gives us valuable information for designing rehabilitation training protocol and assistive devices for hemiplegic patients.

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