Predictive Simulations to Replicate Human Gait Adaptations and Energetics with Exoskeletons

Koelewijn A, Selinger JC (2022)

Publication Language: English

Publication Status: Submitted

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Future Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


Book Volume: 30

Pages Range: 1931 - 1940


DOI: 10.1109/TNSRE.2022.3189038

Open Access Link:


Robotic exoskeletons have the potential to restore and enhance human mobility. However, optimally controlling these devices, to work in concert with human users, is challenging. Accurate model simulations of the interaction between exoskeletons and users may expedite the design process and improve control. Here, as a proof of principle, we tested if we could use predictive simulations to replicate human gait adaptations and changes in energy expenditure from an experiment where participants walked with exoskeletons. We recreated a past experimental paradigm, where robotic exoskeletons were used to shift people’s energetically optimal step frequency to frequencies higher and lower than normally preferred. To match the experimental controller, we modelled knee-worn exoskeletons that applied resistive torques, either proportional or inversely proportional to step frequency—decreasing or increasing the energy optimal step frequency, respectively. We were able to replicate the experiment, finding higher and lower optimal step frequencies than in natural walking under each respective condition. Our simulated resistive torques and objective landscapes resembled the measured experimental resistive torque and energy landscapes. Individual muscle energetics revealed distinct coordination strategies consistent with each exoskeleton controller condition. Increasing the accuracy of step frequency and energetic predictions was best achieved by increasing the number of virtual participants (varying whole-body anthropometrics), rather than the number of muscle parameter sets (varying muscle anthropometrics). In future, our approach can be used to design controllers in advance of human testing,
to help identify reasonable solution spaces or tailor design to individual users.

Authors with CRIS profile

Related research project(s)

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Koelewijn, A., & Selinger, J.C. (2022). Predictive Simulations to Replicate Human Gait Adaptations and Energetics with Exoskeletons. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 30, 1931 - 1940.


Koelewijn, Anne, and Jessica C. Selinger. "Predictive Simulations to Replicate Human Gait Adaptations and Energetics with Exoskeletons." IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 30 (2022): 1931 - 1940.

BibTeX: Download