An Avatar Uses Your Gait to Predict How Many Calories You Will Burn

Humans instinctively adopt the gait that requires the least amount of energy given the walking conditions. Without realizing it, we are constantly tweaking our pace, stride length and foot lift. But could we consciously play with these parameters in order to influence our energy expenditure?

Researchers at EPFL's Biorobotics Laboratory studied eight gait parameters in order to come up with a very sophisticated software program that uses an avatar to predict how much energy people use when they walk depending on their walking style. This research has been published in Scientific Reports. Salman Faraji, the co-lead author, devoted an entire section of his thesis to this topic.

The avatar - a torso equipped with two legs with feet - can be freely configured. Users start by entering their height and weight and can then set the walking speed, distance between their feet (stride length and stride width), and foot lift, along with the incline of both the torso and the ground. They can also add mass and simulate the effect of being pushed or pulled at different parts of the body. The number of calories burned and the energy consumption are displayed in real time whenever the parameters are modified.

Making custom exoskeletons

This pioneering software drew on a number of experiments appearing in recent literature, and it offers a huge number of potential applications - especially in the medical realm. "The software could be used to select the best design for an exoskeleton or a custom prosthetic, in order to reduce the user's effort. With a wearable exoskeleton, for example, we could optimize the location of the battery and actuators, or determine the ideal walking pattern for the user's preferred speed," says Amy Wu, the study's other co-lead author. The software could even determine where a backpack should be worn in order to minimize energy expenditure. "If, on the other hand, your goal is to burn calories, the software could be used to find a series of movements with a high metabolic cost."

Designed for humanoid robots

The software was created in a robotics lab and was initially intended to study the mechanics of human gait for use in humanoid robots. "The way humans walk is extremely complex. The level of control required is a huge challenge for humanoid robots, which often don't get it quite right," says Faraji. "We have a long way to go before we really understand all the parameters that go into human, animal and robot locomotion."

Faraji S, Wu AR, Ijspeert AJ.
A simple model of mechanical effects to estimate metabolic cost of human walking.
Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 20;8(1):10998. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29429-z.

Most Popular Now

Bayer Accelerates Six New Startups

Changing the experience of health: that's the focus of the six startups which the Bayer G4A team has included in the Accelerator program this year. The young companies from Canada...

Cerner Teams-Up with North London Partne…

Cerner has announced a new collaboration with North London Partners (NLP) - a partnership of health and care organisations across five London boroughs - to connect care information, share records...

Artificial Intelligence could Help Tackl…

Scientist from King’s College London believe that Artificial Intelligence could hold the key to identifying the best way to treat the country’s biggest killer, coronary heart disease (CHD). And now...

Researchers Use AI to Successfully Treat…

A translational research team led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) has harnessed CURATE.AI, a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) platform, to successfully treat a patient with advanced cancer, completely...

Greater Manchester Health and Social Car…

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership(GMHSC Partnership) aims to deliver rapid savings and identify how the cloud can support the region’s devolved vision for integratedhealth and careservices through work...

Philips Launches New Cardiac Ultrasound …

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today introduced the EPIQ CVx cardiovascular ultrasound system. Built on the powerful EPIQ ultrasound platform, EPIQ CVx is...

Orion Health Secures Place on Framework …

Orion Health has secured a place on a framework contract that will give health and care organisations easier access to the technology they need to deliver the NHS reform agenda...

Nottingham University Hospitals Switches…

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has completed a complex project to switch integration engines; on time, on budget, and with no disruption to services. The trust has a well-advanced 'best...

An Avatar Uses Your Gait to Predict How …

Humans instinctively adopt the gait that requires the least amount of energy given the walking conditions. Without realizing it, we are constantly tweaking our pace, stride length and foot lift...

Study on Cross-Border Health Services: E…

The overall objective of this study was to propose recommendations for improving the current level of information provision to patients by National Contact Points (NCPs). The research methodology used in...

Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Indus…

21 - 23 January 2019, London, UK. SMi Group are delighted to present the return of their 11th annual Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference to London on the 21st...

Kids Connect with Robot Reading Partners

Kids learn better with a friend. They're more enthusiastic and understand more if they dig into a subject with a companion. But what if that companion is artificial? Researchers at...