We study how people and other animals move, and then apply what we find to help our society. We mostly study walking in people, and mostly pretty fundamental things about the back-and-forth relationship between how we walk and the energy we require to do so. But we also like to study big and small animals, and how their size affects how they control their movements. This comparative work has led us to study kangaroo tails, crocodile gallops, and elephant nerves, to name a few. In the course of our research, we have invented exoskeletons that harvest electrical energy from our movements, devices that stabilize people as they walk, and an iPhone app that controls people’s running pace with music. Others have used our work to develop new ways of rehabilitating people’s gait, and new ways of controlling their walking robots.

The SFU Locomotion Lab is within the Department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology, in the Faculty of Science, at Simon Fraser University. We are affiliated with SFU's School of Engineering Science.

People
Sina Mehdizadeh
Postdoctoral Fellow
Sayed Thangal
PhD Candidate
Pawel Kudzia
PhD Candidate
Patrick Mayerhofer
PhD Candidate
Pavreet Gill
MSc Student

Alumni
  1. Sabrina Abram. Now a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Berkeley. LinkedIn.
  2. Surabhi Simha. Now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University. LinkedIn, Google Scholar.
  3. Jessica Selinger. Now an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University. LinkedIn, Google Scholar.
  4. Jeremy Wong. Now a Research Associate at University of Calgary. Google Scholar.
  5. Shawn O'Connor. Now an Assistant Professor at San Diego State University. LinkedIn, Google Scholar.
  6. Heather More. Now a Research Associate at HelmHoltz Institute. Google Scholar.
  7. Mark Snaterse. Now a Scientist at Wahoo Fitness. LinkedIn.
  8. Qingguo Li. Now an Associate Professor at Queen’s University. LinkedIn, Google Scholar.
  9. Caroline Soo. Now an Instructor at Capilano University and BCIT and Research Coordinator at BCIT. LinkedIn.

Publications
  1. P. Mayerhofer, J. Carter, J.M. Donelan. A remote laboratory course on experimental human physiology using wearable technology. Advances in Physiology Education. 46, 117-124, 2022.
  2. M. J. McAllister, R. L. Blair, J.M. Donelan, J. C. Selinger. Energy optimization during walking involves implicit processing. Journal of Experimental Biology. 224, 1-11, 2021.
  3. P. Kudzia, S. N. Robinovitch, J.M. Donelan. Characterizing the performance of human leg external force control. bioRxiv. 2021.
  4. A. Bakkum, J.M. Donelan, D. S. Marigold. Savings in sensorimotor learning during balance-challenged walking but not reaching. Journal of Neurophysiology. 125, 2384-2396, 2021.
  5. S.N. Simha, J.D. Wong, J.C. Selinger, S.J. Abram, and J.M. Donelan. Increasing the gradient of energetic cost does not initiate adaptation in human walking. Journal of Neurophysiology. 126, 440-450 2021.
  6. N. Sanchez, S.N. Simha, J.M. Donelan, and J.M. Finley. Using asymmetry to your advantage: learning to acquire and accept external assistance during prolonged split-belt walking. Journal of Neurophysiology. 125, 344-357 2021.
  7. N. L. Zaino, K. M. Steele, J.M. Donelan, M. H. Schwartz. Energy consumption does not change after selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with spastic cerebral palsy. Journal of Experimental Biology. 224, 1-11, 2021.
  8. A. Bakkum, J.M. Donelan, D. S. Marigold. Challenging balance during sensorimotor adaptation increases generalization. Journal of Neurophysiology. 123, 1342-1354, 2020.
  9. S.N. Mohamed Thangal, and J.M. Donelan. Scaling of inertial delays in terrestrial mammals. PLoS ONE. 15(2), e0217188, 2020.
  10. S.N. Simha, J.D. Wong, J.C. Selinger, and J.M. Donelan. A mechatronic system for studying energy optimization during walking. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 27 (7), pp. 1416-1425, 2019.
  11. J.C. Selinger, J.D. Wong, S.N. Simha, and J.M. Donelan. How humans initiate energy optimization and converge on their optimal gaits. Journal of Experimental Biology. 222 (19), jeb198234 2019.
  12. N. Sanchez, S.N. Simha, J.M. Donelan, and J.M. Finley. Taking advantage of external mechanical work to reduce metabolic cost: the mechanics and energetics of split‐belt treadmill walking. The Journal of Physiology. 597 (15), 4053-4068, 2019.
  13. S.J. Abram, J.C. Selinger, and J.M. Donelan. Energy optimization is a major objective in the real-time control of step width in human walking. Journal of Biomechanics. 91, pp. 85-91, 2019.
  14. J.D. Wong, J.C. Selinger, and J.M. Donelan. Is natural variability in gait sufficient to initiate spontaneous energy optimization in human walking? Journal of Neurophysiology. 121 (5), pp. 1848-1855, 2019.
  15. N.L. Zaino, K.M. Steele, J.M. Donelan, and M.H. Schwartz. Spasticity reduction in children with cerebral palsy is not associated with reduced energy consumption during walking. BioRxiv, 653071, 2019.
  16. H.L. More, and J.M. Donelan. Scaling of sensorimotor delays in terrestrial mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285, pp. 1885, 2018.
  17. J.D. Wong, S.M. O’Connor, J.C. Selinger, and J.M. Donelan. Contribution of blood oxygen and carbon dioxide sensing to the energetic optimization of human walking. Journal of Neurophysiology. 118(2), pp. 1425-1433, 2017.
  18. J.D. Wong, J.M. Donelan. Principles of energetics and stability in human locomotion . Humanoid Robotics: A Reference. Springer, 2016.
  19. S.M. O’Connor, J.D. Wong, and J.M. Donelan. A generalized method for controlling end-tidal respiratory gases during nonsteady physiological conditions Journal of Applied Physiology. 121(6), pp. 1363-1378, 2016.
  20. J.M. Donelan. Motor Control: No Constant but Change. Current Biology. 26.20, pp. R915-R918, 2016.
  21. R.S. Maeda, S.M. O’Connor, J.M. Donelan, and D.S. Marigold. Foot placement relies on state estimation during visually guided walking. Journal of Neurophysiology. pp. jn-00015, 2016.
  22. J.C. Selinger and J.M. Donelan. Myoelectric Control for Adaptable Biomechanical Energy Harvesting. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 24(3), pp. 364-373, 2016.
  23. J.C. Selinger, S.M. O’Connor, J. D. Wong, and J.M. Donelan. Humans can continuously optimize energetic cost during walking. Current Biology. 25, pp. 2452-2456, 2015.
  24. W. Felt, J.C. Selinger, J.M. Donelan, and C.D. Remy. “Body-In-The-Loop”: Optimizing device parameters using measures of instantaneous energetic cost. PLoS One. 10(8), 2015.
  25. J.C. Selinger and J.M. Donelan. Estimating energetic cost during non-steady gait. Journal of Applied Physiology. 117(11) 1406-15, 2014.
  26. S.M. O’Connor, T.J. Dawson, R. Kram, and J.M. Donelan. The Kangaroo’s tail propels and powers pentapedal locomotion. Biology Letters. 10(7) 20140381, 2014.
  27. R. Pagliara, M. Snaterse, and J.M. Donelan. Fast and slow processes underlie the selection of both step frequency and walking speed. Journal of Experimental Biology. 217, pp. 2939-46, 2014.
  28. H.L. More, S.M. O’Connor, E. Brøndum, T. Wang, M.F. Bertelsen, C. Grøndahl, K. Kastberg, A. Hørlyck, J. Funder and J.M. Donelan. Sensorimotor responsiveness and resolution in the giraffe. Journal of Experimental Biology. 216, pp. 1003-11, 2013.
  29. K. Hatz, K. Mombaur, and J.M. Donelan. Control of ankle extensor muscle activity in walking cats. Journal of Neurophysiology. 108, pp. 2785-93, 2012.
  30. S.M. O’Connor and J.M. Donelan. Fast visual prediction and slow optimization of preferred walking speed. Journal of Neurophysiology. 107, pp. 2549-59, 2012.
  31. K.L. Snyder, M. Snaterse and J.M. Donelan. Running perturbations reveal general strategies for step frequency selection. Journal of Applied Physiology. 112, pp. 1239-47, 2012.
  32. C.H. Soo and J.M. Donelan. Coordination of push-off and collision determine the mechanical work of step-to-step transitions when isolated from human walking. Gait & Posture. 35, pp. 292-7, 2012.
  33. H.L. More, J. Chen, E. Gibson, J.M. Donelan and M.F. Beg. A semi-automated method for identifying and measuring myelinated nerve fibers in scanning electron microscope images. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 201, pp. 149-58, 2011.
  34. M. Snaterse, R. Ton, A.D. Kuo and J.M. Donelan. Distinct fast and slow processes contribute to the selection of preferred step frequency during human walking. Journal of Applied Physiology. 110, pp. 1682-90, 2011.
  35. C.H. Soo and J.M. Donelan. Mechanics and energetics of step-to-step transitions isolated from human walking. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213, pp. 4265-71, 2010.
  36. H.L. More, J.R. Hutchinson, D.F. Collins, D.J. Weber, S.K. Aung, J.M. Donelan. Scaling of sensorimotor control in terrestrial mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277, pp. 3563-8, 2010.
  37. Q. Li and J.M. Donelan. Walking speed estimation using a shank-mounted inertial measurement unit. Journal of Biomechanics. Feb 23, 2010.
  38. A.D. Kuo and J.M. Donelan. Dynamic principles of gait and their clinical applications. Physical Therapy. 90 (2) pp 157-74, 2010.
  39. Q. Li and J.M. Donelan. Development of a biomechanical energy harvester. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. 6:22, 2009.
  40. J.M. Donelan, D.A. McVea and K.G. Pearson. Force regulation of ankle extensor muscle activity in freely walking cats. Journal of Neurophysiology. 101 (1), pp. 360-371, 2009.
  41. J.M. Donelan, Q. Li, V. Naing, J.A. Hoffer, D.J. Weber, and A.D. Kuo. Biomechanical energy harvesting: generating electricity during human walking with minimal user effort. Science. 319 (5864), pp. 807-810, 2008.
  42. S.R. Bullimore and J.M. Donelan. Criteria for dynamic similarity in bouncing gaits. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 250(2): 339-48, 2008.
  43. A. Tachibana, D.A. McVea, J.M. Donelan, and K.G. Pearson. Recruitment of gastrocnemius muscles during the swing phase of stepping following partial denervation of knee flexor muscles in the cat. Experimental Brain Research. 169 (4), 449-460, 2006.
  44. J. Doke, J.M. Donelan, and A.D. Kuo. Mechanics and energetics of swinging the human leg. Journal of Experimental Biology. 208: 439-445, 2005.
  45. A.D. Kuo, J.M. Donelan, and A. Ruina. Energetic consequences of walking like an inverted pendulum: step-to-step transitions. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews. 33: 88-97, 2005.
  46. D.A. McVea, J.M. Donelan, A. Tachibana, and K. Pearson. A role for hip position in initiating the swing-to-stance transition in walking cats. Journal of Neurophysiology. 94: 3497-508, 2005.
  47. J.M. Donelan and K. Pearson. Contribution of sensory feedback to ongoing ankle extensor activity during the stance phase of walking. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 82: 589-98, 2004.
  48. J.M. Donelan, D.W. Shipman, R. Kram, and A.D. Kuo. Mechanical and metabolic requirements for lateral stabilization in human walking. Journal of Biomechanics. 37: 827-835, 2004.
  49. J.M. Donelan and K.G. Pearson. Contribution of force feedback to ankle extensor activity in decerebrate walking cats. Journal of Neurophysiology. 92: 2093-2104, 2004.
  50. J.M. Donelan, R. Kram, and A.D. Kuo. Mechanical work for step–to–step transitions is a major determinant of the metabolic cost of human walking. Journal of Experimental Biology. 205: 3717-3727, 2002.
  51. J.M. Donelan, R. Kram, and A.D. Kuo. Simultaneous positive and negative external mechanical work in human walking. Journal of Biomechanics. 35: 117-124, 2002.
  52. J.M. Donelan, R. Kram, and A.D. Kuo. Mechanical and metabolic determinants of the preferred step width in human walking. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Series B. 268: 1985-1992, 2001.
  53. J.M. Donelan and R. Kram. Exploring dynamic similarity in human running using simulated reduced gravity. Journal of Experimental Biology. 203: 2405-2415, 2000.
  54. R. Kram, T.M. Griffin, J.M. Donelan, and Y-H. Chang. A force-treadmill for measuring both vertical and horizontal ground reaction forces. Journal of Applied Physiology. 85: 764-769, 1998.
  55. J.M. Donelan and R. Kram. The effect of reduced gravity on the kinematics of human walking: a test of the dynamic similarity hypothesis for locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology. 200: 3193-3201, 1997.

Patents
  1. M. Snaterse, S.J. Chang, and J.M. Donelan. Methods and Systems for Control of Human Locomotion. United States, Sept 05, 2019. US16299120.
  2. M. Snaterse, S.J. Chang, and J.M. Donelan. Methods and Systems for Control of Human Cycling Speed. United States, Aug 29, 2019. US16297300.
  3. M. Snaterse, S.J. Chang, and J.M. Donelan. Methods and Systems for Guidance of Human Locomotion. United States, May 14, 2019. US10289753.
  4. J.M. Donelan, A.D. Kuo, Q. Li, J.A. Hoffer, and D.J. Weber. Methods and Apparatus for Harvesting Biomechanical Energy. United States, Jul 16, 2013. US8487456. This invention describes control methods for selectively engaging energy harvesting from joint motion to accomplish generative braking.
  5. M. Snaterse, I. Chang, and J.M. Donelan. Methods and Systems for Human Locomotion Control. United States, Feb 07, 2011. US61/362,170. Under Examination. This invention describes how to automatically control the speed and intensity of walking and running.
  6. J.M. Donelan, A.D. Kuo, Q. Li, J.A. Hoffer, and D.J. Weber. Methods and Apparatus for Harvesting Biomechanical Energy. United States, Oct 30, 2012. US8299634. This invention describes apparatus and methods for non-selectively harvesting energy from joint motion.
  7. J.M. Donelan, A.D. Kuo, Q. Li, J.A. Hoffer, and D.J. Weber. Methods and Apparatus for Harvesting Biomechanical Energy. United States, Feb 09, 2010. US7659636. This invention describes additional control methods for selectively engaging energy harvesting from joint motion to accomplish generative braking.
  8. J.M. Donelan, A.D. Kuo, Q. Li, J.A. Hoffer, and D.J. Weber. Methods and Apparatus for Harvesting Biomechanical Energy. United States, Jan 26, 2010. US7652386. This invention describes mechanical apparatus for selectively engaging energy harvesting from joint motion to accomplish generative braking.

Press

Humans can continuously optimize energetic cost during walking. Current Biology, 2015.
New York Times, BBC, TIME, The Globe and Mail, Science News Magazine, New Scientist, LA Times, The Naked Scientist, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, Global News, Global BC, CBS News, TODAY.com,…

The Kangaroo’s tail propels and powers pentapedal locomotion. Biology Letters, 2014.
Science, Nature, New York Times, CBC, New Scientist, …

Sensorimotor responsiveness and resolution in the giraffe. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2013.
New York Times, Discover, Inside JEB.

Fast visual prediction and slow optimization of preferred walking speed. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2012. + Cruise Control iPhone App
New York Times, Globe & Mail, Runner’s World, Running Magazine, AllThingsD, …

Scaling of sensorimotor control in terrestrial mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2010.
New York Times, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, CBC As it Happens, National Geographic, Smithsonian, …

Biomechanical energy harvesting. Science, 2008.
Science, New York Times, The Economist, Washington Post, Globe & Mail, National Post, Vancouver Sun, BBC Frontiers, NPR Science Friday, CBC Quirks & Quarks, CBC National News, WIRED, MIT Technology Review, Scientific American, Christian Science Monitor, New Scientist, Conservation, …

Invention & Entrepreneurship
New York Times Magazine, TIME, BC Business, Vancouver Magazine, …

Interviews & Articles
2008: New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, …
2009: Popular Science (Jan), Popular Science (Mar), Explore, …
2013: Slate, Scientific American, University Affairs, …
2014: Newsweek, Scientific American, …
2015: Nature, …

Public Talks
2011: TEDx

Code

Our GitHub repository is a work in progress (as it should be).

This site was built from Skeleton. Copyright (c) 2011-2014 Dave Gamache.