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Effects of Mass Distribution and Configuration on the Energetic Losses at Impacts of Bipedal Walking Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Josep Maria Font, József Kövecses

McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada

Paper No. IMECE2008-66684, pp. 297-306; 10 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, October 31–November 6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4863-0 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3840-2
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Understanding the dynamics of human walking is a complex task due to the interaction of the musculoskeletal and the central nervous systems. Nevertheless, the use of simple models can provide useful insight into the mechanical aspects of bipedal locomotion. Such models exploit the observations that human walking significantly relies on passive dynamics and inverted pendulum-like behaviour. The mechanical analysis of walking involves the study of the finite motion single support phase and the impulsive motion of the impacts that occur at heel strike. Such impacts are dominant events because they represent a sudden topology transition and moreover, they are the main cause of energy consumption during the gait cycle. The aim of this work is to gain insight into the dynamics and energetics of heel strike. We use a concept that decouples the dynamics of the biped to the spaces of admissible and constrained motions at the topology transition. This approach is then applied to a straight-legged biped with upper body. Detailed analysis and discussions are presented to quantify the effects of the mass distribution and the impact configuration on the energetics of walking.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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