SFU Locomotion Lab

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
What the facility does

Research on legged locomotion and its applications

Areas of expertise

Research in the SFU Locomotion Lab focuses on understanding the fundamental principles that underlie the physiology of legged locomotion, as well as on the application of these principles to improve human health. We use a combination of mathematical modelling and empirical experimentation, with the latter involving techniques from biomechanics, energetics and neurophysiology. At a fundamental level, a more complete understanding of legged locomotion provides insight into the behaviour, ecology and evolution of animals. At a more applied level, understanding locomotion is useful in the design of legged robots or energy-harvesting devices. A better understanding of the mechanics, energetics and neural control of human locomotion has many clinical applications.

Research services

Computational modelling of locomotion, measurement of metabolic energy use, gait parameters and ground reaction forces during walking, modification of energy use during walking, single belt and split belt treadmill walking 

Sectors of application
  • Clean technology
  • Defence and security industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)



Knee exoskeleton

Energy harvesting from walking

3D motion capture system

Recording of movement of objects and people

Split belt treadmill

Treadmill with separate belts for each leg, capable of running each belt at a different speed setting

Series elastic actuator

Device with spring between motor and actuator, used to apply forces with high accuracy and control



U.S. military takes SFU power-generating project for a test walk


Power harvesting “Exosuit” (starts at 36:30 – 42:10)


For kangaroos, tail becomes a fifth leg


TEDxJuanDeFuca - Max Donelan - Harvesting human energy


Biomechanical energy harvester


You'd have to be smart to walk this lazy... and people are


Humans are hard-wired for laziness, study finds


Born to be lazy? How to change your walk to burn calories faster


Lab rat – cruise control


T. Rex plodded like an elephant, nerve study says


No power for cellphone? Just walk a few blocks


Harnessing human energy for medical good