Spacetime Constraints for Biomechanical Movements

D.C. Brogan, K.P. Granata, and P.N. Sheth (USA)


Biomechanics, robotics, and optimization


To better understand human movements, biomechanical models must be developed that accurately describe human physiology and control strategies. Typically, biomechanical models must be adapted or hand tuned to study the countless unique users and tasks caused by human diversity and pathologic movement dysfunctions. The convergence of optimization theories, biomechanical models, and computational systems promises to alleviate these manual processes. We describe a computational technique called spacetime constraints that can be used to automatically solve for both optimal movement trajectories and joint activation torques as befitting the subject, environmental constraints, and objectives. We demonstrate the success of this technique on bipedal downhill walking by comparing our results to optimal movements and joint torques published in the literature. With this contribution to computational biomechanics, we outline a modeling framework that uses easily configurable physical models, constraints, and objective functions to determine movements and control actions.

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