Metabolical energy is the chemical energy consumed by skeletal muscles to generate force. This quantity is useful to understand the comfort of human gait and to evaluate, in terms of effort required, the performance of devices or therapies designed to improve gait quality of persons presenting gait disorders. Firstly, this paper presents the frequently used estimations of energy expenditure based lonely on joint torques and mechanical costs obtained by inverse dynamics of passive and active walking devices. Secondly, a more advanced approach is discussed consisting of modeling the musculoskeletal system with Hill-type phenomenological muscle models and computing the metabolical expenditure adopting expressions recently proposed in the literature. As an example a musculoskeletal model of the lower limb in the sagittal plane consisting of thigh, shank and foot with three degrees of freedom and actuated by eight muscles is considered. This model is used to estimate metabolical costs for known normal gait kinematical data obtained in a gait analysis laboratory.

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