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Running and walking, collectively referred to as bipedal locomotion, represent self-organized behaviors generated by a spatially distributed dynamical system operating under the constraint that a person must be able to move without falling down. The organizing principles involve both forces actively regulated by the nervous system and those generated passively by the biomechanicalproperties of the musculoskeletal system and the environment in which the movements occur. With the development of modern motion capture and electrophysiological techniques it has become possible to explore the dynamical interplay between the passive and active controllers of locomotion in a manner that directly compares observation to predictions made by relevant mathematical and computer models. Consequently, many of the techniques initially developed to study nonlinear dynamical systems, including stability analyses, phase resetting and entrainment properties of limit cycles, and fractal and multifractal analysis, have come to play major roles in guiding progress. This Focus Issue discusses bipedal locomotion from the point of view of dynamical systems theory with the goal of stimulating discussion between the dynamical systems, physics, biomechanics, and neuroscience communities.


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