Biomechanics of Walking in Real World: Naturalness we Wish to Reach in Virtual Reality

  • Franck Multon
  • Anne-Hélène Olivier


In most virtual reality (VR) simulations the virtual world is larger than the real walking workspace. The workspace is often bounded by the tracking area or the display devices. Hence, many researchers have proposed technical solutions to make people walk through large virtual spaces using various types of metaphors and multisensory feedback. To achieve this goal it is necessary to understand how people walk in real life. This chapter reports biomechanical data describing human walking including kinematics, dynamics and energetics knowledge for straight line and nonlinear walking. Reference and normative values are provided for most of these variables, which could help developers and researchers improve the naturalness of walking in large virtual environments, or to propose evaluation metrics. For each section of this chapter, we will provide some potential applications in VR. On the one hand, this type of knowledge could be used to design more natural interaction devices such as omnidirectional treadmills, walk-in-place methods, or other facilities. A specific section is dedicated to comparisons between treadmill and ground walking as it is one of the most popular approaches in VR. On the other hand, this knowledge could also be useful to improve the quality of multisensory feedback when walking, such as adding sounds, vibrations, or more natural camera control.


Biomechanics Neuroscience Perception Natural walking Human Walking  Virtual reality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Rennes2RennesFrance
  2. 2.RennesFrance

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