JOURNAL ARTICLE

Unobtrusive assessment of walking speed in the home using inexpensive PIR sensors

Tamara L Hayes, Stuart Hagler, Daniel Austin, Jeffrey Kaye, Misha Pavel
Conference Proceedings: Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2009, 2009: 7248-51
19965096
Walking speed and activity are important measures of functional ability in the elderly. Our earlier studies have suggested that continuous monitoring may allow us to detect changes in walking speed that are also predictive of cognitive changes. We evaluated the use of passive infrared (PIR) sensors for measuring walking speed in the home on an ongoing basis. In comparisons with gait mat estimates (ground truth) and the results of a timed walk test (the clinical gold standard) in 18 subjects, we found that the clinical measure overestimated typical walking speed, and the PIR sensor estimations of walking speed were highly correlated to actual gait speed. Examination of in-home walking patterns from more than 100,000 walking speed samples for these subjects suggested that we can accurately assess walking speed in the home. We discuss the potential of this approach for continuous assessment.

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