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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2016 May;63(5):894-903. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2015.2463077. Epub 2015 Jul 30.

Simulation-Based Design for Wearable Robotic Systems: An Optimization Framework for Enhancing a Standing Long Jump.



Technologies that augment human performance are the focus of intensive research and development, driven by advances in wearable robotic systems. Success has been limited by the challenge of understanding human-robot interaction. To address this challenge, we developed an optimization framework to synthesize a realistic human standing long jump and used the framework to explore how simulated wearable robotic devices might enhance jump performance.


A planar, five-segment, seven-degree-of-freedom model with physiological torque actuators, which have variable torque capacity depending on joint position and velocity, was used to represent human musculoskeletal dynamics. An active augmentation device was modeled as a torque actuator that could apply a single pulse of up to 100 Nm of extension torque. A passive design was modeled as rotational springs about each lower limb joint. Dynamic optimization searched for physiological and device actuation patterns to maximize jump distance.


Optimization of the nominal case yielded a 2.27 m jump that captured salient kinematic and kinetic features of human jumps. When the active device was added to the ankle, knee, or hip, jump distance increased to between 2.49 and 2.52 m. Active augmentation of all three joints increased the jump distance to 3.10 m. The passive design increased jump distance to 3.32 m by adding torques of 135, 365, and 297 Nm to the ankle, knee, and hip, respectively.


Dynamic optimization can be used to simulate a standing long jump and investigate human-robot interaction.


Simulation can aid in the design of performance-enhancing technologies.

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