Predictive simulation is a powerful approach for analyzing human locomotion. Unlike techniques that track experimental data, predictive simulations synthesize gaits by minimizing a high-level objective such as metabolic energy expenditure while satisfying task requirements like achieving a target velocity. The fidelity of predictive gait simulations has only been systematically evaluated for locomotion data on flat ground. In this study, we construct a predictive simulation framework based on energy minimization and use it to generate normal walking, along with walking with a range of carried loads and up a range of inclines. The simulation is muscle-driven and includes controllers based on muscle force and stretch reflexes and contact state of the legs. We demonstrate how human-like locomotor strategies emerge from adapting the model to a range of environmental changes. Our simulation dynamics not only show good agreement with experimental data for normal walking on flat ground (92% of joint angle trajectories and 78% of joint torque trajectories lie within 1 standard deviation of experimental data), but also reproduce many of the salient changes in joint angles, joint moments, muscle coordination, and metabolic energy expenditure observed in experimental studies of loaded and inclined walking.
Generating robust accurate predictive simulations of human walking in OpenSim
The studies described on this site use optimal control techniques to synthesize biomechanically accurate humanoid motion for walking. The techniques described have been demonstrated to yield comparable results to experimental walking data.