• Robots

    To investigate human and animal locomotion, a number of legged robots were developed in our group since 2004. Read about the bipedal robot BioBiped or the research in the Locomorph project focusing on morphology and morphosis strategies in locomotion.

  • Prosthesis

    To investigate models of the muscle-tendon dynamics on humans we developed the research platform PAKO. Using our insights on gait biomechanics, walking and running could be realized with the robotic Walk-Run Ankle prosthesis.

  • Facilities

    Several indoor and outdoor facilities with state-of-the-art measurement equipment helps us to perform experiments on humans, animals and robots. Details can be found here: Facilities.

  • Experiments

    Both in research projects and in teaching courses at the Sports Science Institut at TU Darmstadt experimental studies are performed. Outcomes from student research and educational projects on biomechanics can be found in the awarded Teaching Wiki of our institute.

  • Models

    Models help us to study the fundamental principles of human and animal locomotion. The derived biomechanical concepts can be applied to bipedal robots, exoskeletons or prosthesis. In the European project Balance, we are working on an active orthosis.

News

  • Movement Academy on Parkinson Gait The Lauflabor organizes the first movement academy in Darmstadt on June 4 and 5, 2019
  • Dynamic Walking 2019 is announced! Click here for details.
  • Lauflabor Best Student Thesis Award 2018 Apply now until June 30, 2019. Click here for details: Flyer

Pick of the Month

Concerted control concept in locomotion

A new concept termed concerted control is introduced in our recently published paper in the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics journal titled Concerted control of stance and balance locomotor subfunctions -Leg force as a conductor.

Abstract:

In human locomotion, the complex structure of the human body is controlled such that conceptual models (e.g., the spring-loaded-inverted-pendulum model) can describe the significant features. This suggests that the interplay of the complex control and musculoskeletal systems projects into a low-dimensional space to perform different movements. Such simplification can involve splitting the task into different modular control subproblems (locomotor subfunctions) that can be solved individually. Here, we asked how two locomotor subfunctions, namely stance, and balance, could be coordinated to generate repeatable and robust motor commands. We developed a simple neuromechanical hopping model, based on decoupling axial and perpendicular leg forces. For this, bouncing behaviors and trunk posture control can be addressed by a knee extensor muscle and biarticular thigh muscles, respectively. We suggest utilizing the leg force feedback as interplay among environment, body mechanics, and sensory control to synchronize the decoupled subfunctions. We evaluated this approach in push recovery, attenuating ground drop perturbations and by investigating its sensitivity to the reflex gain as the control parameter. Leg force feedback can improve the robustness of hopping by generating rhythmic hopping patterns. Such a parsimony model-based control concept could simplify controlling assistive devices, such as exoskeletons and prostheses.

Keywords: Locomotor subfunction, positive force feedback, reflex control, sensor-motor map.


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