Force direction patterns promote whole body stability even in hip-flexed walking, but not upper body stability in human upright walking

Journal article


Mueller, R., Rode, C., AminiAghdam, S., Vielemeyer, J. and Blickhan, R. (2017). Force direction patterns promote whole body stability even in hip-flexed walking, but not upper body stability in human upright walking. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 473 (2207). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2017.0404
AuthorsMueller, R., Rode, C., AminiAghdam, S., Vielemeyer, J. and Blickhan, R.
Abstract

Directing the ground reaction forces to a focal point above the centre of mass of the whole body promotes whole body stability in human and animal gaits similar to a physical pendulum. Here we show that this is the case in human hip-flexed walking as well. For all upper body orientations (upright, 25°, 50°, maximum), the focal point was well above the centre of mass of the whole body, suggesting its general relevance for walking. Deviations of the forces' lines of action from the focal point increased with upper body inclination from 25 to 43 mm root mean square deviation (RMSD). With respect to the upper body in upright gait, the resulting force also passed near a focal point (17 mm RMSD between the net forces' lines of action and focal point), but this point was 18 cm below its centre of mass. While this behaviour mimics an unstable inverted pendulum, it leads to resulting torques of alternating sign in accordance with periodic upper body motion and probably provides for low metabolic cost of upright gait by keeping hip torques small. Stabilization of the upper body is a consequence of other mechanisms, e.g. hip reflexes or muscle preflexes.

KeywordsVirtual Pivot Point; Upper Body; Bipedal Walking; Stability
Year2017
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Journal citation473 (2207)
PublisherThe Royal Society
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2017.0404
Web address (URL)https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspa.2017.0404
Publication dates
Print08 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Dec 2020
Publisher's version
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File Access Level
Open
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