3D gait assessment in young and elderly subjects using foot-worn inertial sensors

Benoit Mariani, Constanze Hoskovec, Stephane Rochat, Christophe Büla, Julien Penders, Kamiar Aminian
Journal of Biomechanics 2010 November 16, 43 (15): 2999-3006
This study describes the validation of a new wearable system for assessment of 3D spatial parameters of gait. The new method is based on the detection of temporal parameters, coupled to optimized fusion and de-drifted integration of inertial signals. Composed of two wirelesses inertial modules attached on feet, the system provides stride length, stride velocity, foot clearance, and turning angle parameters at each gait cycle, based on the computation of 3D foot kinematics. Accuracy and precision of the proposed system were compared to an optical motion capture system as reference. Its repeatability across measurements (test-retest reliability) was also evaluated. Measurements were performed in 10 young (mean age 26.1±2.8 years) and 10 elderly volunteers (mean age 71.6±4.6 years) who were asked to perform U-shaped and 8-shaped walking trials, and then a 6-min walking test (6MWT). A total of 974 gait cycles were used to compare gait parameters with the reference system. Mean accuracy±precision was 1.5±6.8cm for stride length, 1.4±5.6cm/s for stride velocity, 1.9±2.0cm for foot clearance, and 1.6±6.1° for turning angle. Difference in gait performance was observed between young and elderly volunteers during the 6MWT particularly in foot clearance. The proposed method allows to analyze various aspects of gait, including turns, gait initiation and termination, or inter-cycle variability. The system is lightweight, easy to wear and use, and suitable for clinical application requiring objective evaluation of gait outside of the lab environment.

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