Robotics research has drawn much inspiration from humans as a system: in the design of the anthropomorphic aspects of manipulators, sensors, and actuators, approaches for coordinating full body motions, and the higher level strategies for realizing complex tasks and interacting with the external environment and other humans. Today, robotics as a field has matured to the point where methodologies developed and used in robotics may be leveraged to address research questions in many other fields, ranging from neuroscience to computer animation. Together with the tools from biomechanics, robotics enables our efforts to explore natural human motion, leading to improvements in treatments for patients with neuro­-musculoskeletal disorders, and facilitating development of human­-inspired robots. Using robotics methods and control theory, we aim at gaining fundamental insight into natural human movement, and understanding the mechanisms that lead to improved quality of treatment and rehabilitation. Using biomechanics, we aim at exploring the relationships between muscle mechanics, form, and function, and creating subject­ specific dynamics simulations to explain the causes of movement abnormalities.

Through this new Technical Committee on Human Movement Understanding, we hope to create a focal point for this emerging interdisciplinary research field, facilitate dissemination within both the robotics and biomechanics research fields, and share the contributions and the emerging applications with the broader scientific community.


The main objectives of the proposed TC are as follows:

  1. Application of advanced computational tools to:
    • Characterize natural human motion and the higher level strategies of its realization of complex tasks and in interacting with the external environment
    • Develop tools for characterizing changes in human motion due to disease, aging or injury, to facilitate applications in rehabilitation and prosthesis and exoskeleton design
    • Predict behavior and synthesize human-­like motions.
  2. Development of strategies for human motion reconstruction on engineered anthropomorphic systems, such as the humanoid, mobile manipulators, and simulated systems.
  3. Human motion generation and task learning, including but not limited to: the strategies of generalization of learned tasks to the learning of new tasks, resolution of human motor redundancy, human strategies in handling constraints.

Topics of Interest

The proposed Technical Committee on Human Movement Understanding’s topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Natural motion generation in humanoid robotics
  • Human multi­body dynamics modeling
  • Musculoskeletal dynamics, simulation, and control
  • Motion reconstruction techniques
  • Human motion analysis
  • Human motion synthesis
  • Kinematic modeling of the human body
  • Dynamic modeling of the human body
  • Whole-­body dynamics identification
  • Motion segmentation
  • Optimal control techniques for predicting efficient movement patterns
  • Motion recognition
  • Computer animation/graphics
  • Neuromuscular control (as affected by injury, aging, or training)
  • Robotics-­based motion synthesis
  • Human motor control
  • Subject­-specific simulation in the identification and treatment of movement pathology
  • Patient specific modeling of joint kinematics
  • Computational modeling to understand musculoskeletal disorders
  • Novel therapies for neurological disorders
  • Design and simulation of assistive devices
  • Understanding and manipulating neuromuscular function with electrical stimulation
  • Virtual reality and character animation

with applications in:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Workplace ergonomics
  • Sports medicine
  • Orthopaedics
  • Physical therapy
  • Humanoid robotics
  • Entertainment robotics
  • Computer animation