• 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

From template to anchors: leg force can tune muscle activation

A new level of modelling evolution is introduced with replacing springs by muscle models in our recently published paper in the Royal Society Open Science journal titled From template to anchors: transfer of virtual pendulum posture control balance template to adaptive neuromuscular gait model increases walking stability.

Abstract:

Biomechanical models with different levels of complexity are of advantage to understand the underlying principles of legged locomotion. Following a minimalistic approach of gradually increasing model complexity based on Template & Anchor concept, in this paper, a spring-loaded inverted pendulum-based walking model is extended by a rigid trunk, hip muscles and reflex control, called nmF (neuromuscular force modulated compliant hip) model. Our control strategy includes leg force feedback to activate hip muscles (originated from the FMCH approach), and a discrete linear quadratic regulator for adapting muscle reflexes. The nmF model demonstrates human-like walking kinematic and dynamic features such as the virtual pendulum (VP) concept, inherited from the FMCH model. Moreover, the robustness against postural perturbations is two times higher in the nmF model compared to the FMCH model and even further increased in the adaptive nmF model. This is due to the intrinsic muscle dynamics and the tuning of the reflex gains. With this, we demonstrate, for the first time, the evolution of mechanical template models (e.g. VP concept) to a more physiological level (nmF model). This shows that the template model can be successfully used to design and control robust locomotor systems with more realistic system behaviours.

Keywords: Template & Anchor, leg force feedback, posture control, reflex control, sensor-motor map.


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