Experimental Papers

Theoretical Investigations


Methods, Reviews & General

Fact-based opinions

Special Interest Group in LOCOMOTION (SIG-LM) at the Physiological Society

LINKS and other resources

my science movie collection


Why locomotion is interesting (to me, at least)

The movement of people, goods and messages has always been crucial to the development of mankind, as witnessed by the importance in everyone’s life today of cars/vehicles, internet and mobile phones. The same strive determined, long ago in the history of the planet, the appearance of animals and their continuous evolution towards a better adaptation to travel through various media (solid ground, water, air), a higher speed of movement (allowing to predate or to escape) and a more economical cost of transport, which allowed migration and biomass expansion.

While modern studies mostly focusses on human transport (in different environments, in many locomotion-related sports and assisted gaits), there are still open questions of remarkable importance regarding animal locomotion. Once solved, those aspects will also help to better understand human locomotion. For example, the reasons why a kangaroo spends less metabolic energy per meter travelled at increasing speeds would likely shed lights on the role of elastic structures (tendons, mainly) in human running. Furthermore, animal studies are the basis for biomimetics, a recent discipline ‘importing’ nature solutions, developed through million of years evolution, into our everyday life.

The Physiology and Biomechanics of Human and Animal Locomotion

CAD animation by Georgios Machtsiras

I find most of the interest in the mechanical determinants of energy consumption during all forms of biological motion/locomotion. Those studies, described in the next few pages, are often characterized by the search for optimal phenomena, energy minimization, natural or assisted evolution towards a faster, economical and safe locomotion in different environments, including outside our planet.

As in other main sections of my research activity, hyperlinks (here above) will bring you to various chapters containing detailed samples of papers.