Arm-free paraplegic standing via functional electrical stimulation (FES) has drawn much attention in the biomechanical field as it might allow a paraplegic to stand and simultaneously use both arms to perform daily activities. However, current FES systems for standing require that the individual actively regulates balance using one or both arms, thus limiting the practical use of these systems. The purpose of the present study was to show that actuating only six out of 12 degrees of freedom (12-DOFs) in the lower limbs to allow paraplegics to stand freely is theoretically feasible with respect to multibody stability and physiological torque limitations of the lower limb DOF. Specifically, the goal was to determine the optimal combination of the minimum DOF that can be realistically actuated using FES while ensuring stability and able-bodied kinematics during perturbed arm-free standing. The human body was represented by a three-dimensional dynamics model with 12-DOFs in the lower limbs. Nakamura’s method (Nakamura, Y., and Ghodoussi, U., 1989, “Dynamics Computation of Closed-Link Robot Mechanisms With Nonredundant and Redundant Actuators
,” IEEE Trans. Rob. Autom., 5(3), pp. 294–302) was applied to estimate the joint torques of the system using experimental motion data from four healthy subjects. The torques were estimated by applying our previous finding that only 6 (6-DOFs) out of 12-DOFs in the lower limbs need to be actuated to facilitate stable standing. Furthermore, it was shown that six cases of 6-DOFs exist, which facilitate stable standing. In order to characterize each of these cases in terms of the torque generation patterns and to identify a potential optimal 6-DOF combination, the joint torques during perturbations in eight different directions were estimated for all six cases of 6-DOFs. The results suggest that the actuation of both ankle flexion∕extension, both knee flexion∕extension, one hip flexion∕extension, and one hip abduction∕adduction DOF will result in the minimum torque requirements to regulate balance during perturbed standing. To facilitate unsupported FES-assisted standing, it is sufficient to actuate only 6-DOFs. An optimal combination of 6-DOFs exists, for which this system can generate able-bodied kinematics while requiring lower limb joint torques that are producible using contemporary FES technology. These findings suggest that FES-assisted arm-free standing of paraplegics is theoretically feasible, even when limited by the fact that muscles actuating specific DOFs are often denervated or difficult to access.