Inertial Gait Phase Detection for control of a drop foot stimulator Inertial sensing for gait phase detection

D Kotiadis, H J Hermens, P H Veltink
Medical Engineering & Physics 2010, 32 (4): 287-97
An Inertial Gait Phase Detection system was developed to replace heel switches and footswitches currently being used for the triggering of drop foot stimulators. A series of four algorithms utilising accelerometers and gyroscopes individually and in combination were tested and initial results are shown. Sensors were positioned on the outside of the upper shank. Tests were performed on data gathered from a subject, sufferer of stroke, implanted with a drop foot stimulator and triggered with the current trigger, the heel switch. Data tested includes a variety of activities representing everyday life. Flat surface walking, rough terrain and carpet walking show 100% detection and the ability of the algorithms to ignore non-gait events such as weight shifts. Timing analysis is performed against the current triggering method, the heel switch. After evaluating the heel switch timing against a reference system, namely the Vicon 370 marker and force plates system. Initial results show a close correlation between the current trigger detection and the inertial sensor based triggering algorithms. Algorithms were tested for stairs up and stairs down. Best results are observed for algorithms using gyroscope data. Algorithms were designed using threshold techniques for lowest possible computational load and with least possible sensor components to minimize power requirements and to allow for potential future implantation of sensor system.

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