Quantifying the preferred transition speed (PTS) from walking to running has provided insight into the underlying mechanics of locomotion. The dynamic similarity hypothesis suggests that the PTS should occur at the same Froude number across gravitational environments. In normal Earth gravity, the PTS occurs at a Froude number of 0.5 in adult humans, but previous reports found the PTS occurred at Froude numbers greater than 0.5 in simulated lunar gravity. Our purpose was to (1) determine the Froude number at the PTS in actual lunar gravity during parabolic flight and (2) compare it with the Froude number at the PTS in simulated lunar gravity during overhead suspension. We observed that Froude numbers at the PTS in actual lunar gravity (1.39±0.45) and simulated lunar gravity (1.11±0.26) were much greater than 0.5. Froude numbers at the PTS above 1.0 suggest that the use of the inverted pendulum model may not necessarily be valid in actual lunar gravity and that earlier findings in simulated reduced gravity are more accurate than previously thought.
All authors contributed to the writing of this paper, the initial draft being prepared by J.K.D. and W.B.E.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
This work was a directed study funded by the Human Health and Countermeasures Element of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Human Research Program.
- © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd