IMU: inertial sensing of vertical CoM movement

Patrick Esser, Helen Dawes, Johnny Collett, Ken Howells
Journal of Biomechanics 2009 July 22, 42 (10): 1578-81
The purpose of this study was to use a quaternion rotation matrix in combination with an integration approach to transform translatory accelerations of the centre of mass (CoM) from an inertial measurement unit (IMU) during walking, from the object system onto the global frame. Second, this paper utilises double integration to determine the relative change in position of the CoM from the vertical acceleration data. Five participants were tested in which an IMU, consisting of accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers was attached on the lower spine estimated centre of mass. Participants were asked to walk three times through a calibrated volume at their self-selected walking speed. Synchronized data were collected by an IMU and an optical motion capture system (OMCS); both measured at 100 Hz. Accelerations of the IMU were transposed onto the global frame using a quaternion rotation matrix. Translatory acceleration, speed and relative change in position from the IMU were compared with the derived data from the OMCS. Peak acceleration in vertical axis showed no significant difference (p> or =0.05). Difference between peak and trough speed showed significant difference (p<0.05) but relative peak-trough position between the IMU and OMCS did not show any significant difference (p> or =0.05). These results indicate that quaternions, in combination with Simpsons rule integration, can be used in transforming translatory acceleration from the object frame to the global frame and therefore obtain relative change in position, thus offering a solution for using accelerometers in accurate global frame kinematic gait analyses.

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