Foot trajectory approximation using the pendulum model of walking

Juan Fang, Aleksandra Vuckovic, Sujay Galen, Bernard A Conway, Kenneth J Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Generating a natural foot trajectory is an important objective in robotic systems for rehabilitation of walking. Human walking has pendular properties, so the pendulum model of walking has been used in bipedal robots which produce rhythmic gait patterns. Whether natural foot trajectories can be produced by the pendulum model needs to be addressed as a first step towards applying the pendulum concept in gait orthosis design. This study investigated circle approximation of the foot trajectories, with focus on the geometry of the pendulum model of walking. Three able-bodied subjects walked overground at various speeds, and foot trajectories relative to the hip were analysed. Four circle approximation approaches were developed, and best-fit circle algorithms were derived to fit the trajectories of the ankle, heel and toe. The study confirmed that the ankle and heel trajectories during stance and the toe trajectory in both the stance and the swing phases during walking at various speeds could be well modelled by a rigid pendulum. All the pendulum models were centred around the hip with pendular lengths approximately equal to the segment distances from the hip. This observation provides a new approach for using the pendulum model of walking in gait orthosis design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • adult
  • ankle joint
  • female
  • foot
  • gait
  • humans
  • male
  • models, theoretical
  • orthotic devices
  • walking
  • young adult

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