Human-like compliant locomotion: State of the art of robotic implementations

Diego Torricelli, Jose Gonzalez, Maarten Weckx, René Jiménez-Fabián, Bram Vanderborght, Massimo Sartori, Strahinja Dosen, Dario Farina, Dirk Lefeber, Jose L. Pons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


This review paper provides a synthetic yet critical overview of the key biomechanical principles of human bipedal walking and their current implementation in robotic platforms. We describe the functional role of human joints, addressing in particular the relevance of the compliant properties of the different degrees of freedom throughout the gait cycle. We focused on three basic functional units involved in locomotion, i.e. the ankle-foot complex, the knee, and the hip-pelvis complex, and their relevance to whole-body performance. We present an extensive review of the current implementations of these mechanisms into robotic platforms, discussing their potentialities and limitations from the functional and energetic perspectives. We specifically targeted humanoid robots, but also revised evidence from the field of lower-limb prosthetics, which presents innovative solutions still unexploited in the current humanoids. Finally, we identified the main critical aspects of the process of translating human principles into actual machines, providing a number of relevant challenges that should be addressed in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051002
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 22 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • biomechanics
  • compliance
  • human likeness
  • humanoids
  • robotics
  • walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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