Student Courses

The why and how of human gait simulations



Time and place:

Organisation and slides via StudOn.

  • Tue 10:15-11:45, Room 00.010

Fields of study

  • WF MT-MA-BDV from SEM 1
  • WF MT-MA-GPP from SEM 1
  • WPF INF-MA from SEM 1
  • WF EEI-MA from SEM 1
  • WF MT-MA-MEL from SEM 1

Prerequisites / Organizational information

Assignment: Mail to
The grade consists of a presentation and a report, both counting 50% of the final grade.


Learning objectives:
Set up a trajectory optimization problem to solve for a gait simulation
Be familiar with different approaches to solving gait simulations
Be able to select an approach to solve a specific simulation problem
Know the state-of-the-art gait simulation methods used at FAU and universities in Germany and abroad

ECTS information




Simulations of human gait have many potential uses, for example to help understand human motion and to speed up design of assistive devices such as prostheses and exoskeletons. Human gait simulations are created by solving trajectory optimization problems, using concepts from optimal control. In this seminar, the aim is to become familiar with different approaches that are used to solve trajectory optimization problems related to human motion simulations. Different methods will be introduced and compared. Students will study a state-of-the-art paper and present the details of the problem described in the paper.


- Kelly, Matthew. "An introduction to trajectory optimization: How to do your own direct collocation." SIAM Review 59.4 (2017): 849-904. - Anderson, Frank C., and Marcus G. Pandy. "Dynamic Optimization of Human Walking.” Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 123, no. 5 (May 16, 2001): 381–90. - Van den Bogert, Antonie J., et al. "Predictive musculoskeletal simulation using optimal control: effects of added limb mass on energy cost and kinematics of walking and running." Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology 226.2 (2012): 123-133. - Dorschky, Eva, Daniel Krüger, Nicolai Kurfess, Heiko Schlarb, Sandro Wartzack, Bjoern M. Eskofier, and Antonie J. van den Bogert. "Optimal Control Simulation Predicts Effects of Midsole Materials on Energy Cost of Running.” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 0, no. 0 (April 16, 2019): 1–11. - Dzeladini, Florin, Jesse van den Kieboom, and Auke Ijspeert. "The Contribution of a Central Pattern Generator in a Reflex-Based Neuromuscular Model.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8 (2014). - Handford, M. L., and M. Srinivasan. "Energy-Optimal Human Walking With Feedback-Controlled Robotic Prostheses: A Computational Study.” IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 26, no. 9 (September 2018): 1773–82. - Hiley, Michael J., and Maurice R. Yeadon. "Investigating Optimal Technique in a Noisy Environment: Application to the Upstart on Uneven Bars.” Human Movement Science 32, no. 1 (February 2013): 181–91. - Koelewijn, Anne D., Eva Dorschky, and Antonie J. van den Bogert. "A Metabolic Energy Expenditure Model with a Continuous First Derivative and Its Application to Predictive Simulations of Gait.” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 21, no. 8 (June 11, 2018): 521–31. - Lin, Yi-Chung, and Marcus G. Pandy. "THREE-DIMENSIONAL DATA-TRACKING DYNAMIC OPTIMIZATION SIMULATIONS OF HUMAN LOCOMOTION GENERATED BY DIRECT COLLOCATION.” Journal of Biomechanics. Accessed May 30, 2017. - Miller, Ross H. "A Comparison of Muscle Energy Models for Simulating Human Walking in Three Dimensions.” Journal of Biomechanics 47, no. 6 (April 11, 2014): 1373–81. - Miller, Ross H., Aryeh Y. Esterson, and Jae Kun Shim. "Joint Contact Forces When Minimizing the External Knee Adduction Moment by Gait Modification: A Computer Simulation Study.” The Knee 22, no. 6 (December 1, 2015): 481–89. - Mombaur, Katja, and Debora Clever. "Inverse Optimal Control as a Tool to Understand Human Movement.” In Geometric and Numerical Foundations of Movements, edited by Jean-Paul Laumond, Nicolas Mansard, and Jean-Bernard Lasserre, 163–86. Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics 117. Springer International Publishing, 2017.

Additional information

Keywords: trajectory optimization, optimal control, human locomotion, biomechanics

Expected participants: 15