Aging affects multi-objective optimal control strategies during obstacle crossing

Chien Chung Kuo, Jr Yi Wang, Sheng Chang Chen, Tung Wu Lu, Horng Chaung Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Obstacle crossing challenges balance and increases the risk of falls in older people. Knowledge of the control strategies adopted by older people will be helpful for the study of the mechanisms of falls during obstacle crossing and the development of fall-prevention approaches. A mechanical model of the body combined with measured gait data was used to study the control strategies adopted by 17 healthy older and 17 young adults when crossing obstacles of different heights, in terms of the best-compromise weighting sets for the objectives of minimizing energy expenditure and maximizing the toe-obstacle and heel-obstacle clearances. The older group showed increased leading toe-obstacle clearance and trailing toe-obstacle distance, but decreased leading heel-obstacle distance. Compared with the young, the crossing strategy of older people emphasized the foot-obstacle clearance to reduce the risk of tripping, at the expense of energy expenditure. It appears that the multi-objective optimal control strategy relies on the muscular strength of the lower extremities and precise end-point control. Therefore, maintaining or improving the muscle strength and the ability of limb position control is critical for safe and successful obstacle-crossing in the older population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8040
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Aged
  • Gait analysis
  • Obstacle crossing
  • Optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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