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Validity of the Microsoft Kinect for providing lateral trunk lean feedback during gait retraining

Ross A Clark, Yong-Hao Pua, Adam L Bryant, Michael A Hunt
Gait & Posture 2013, 38 (4): 1064-6
23643880
Gait retraining programs are prescribed to assist in the rehabilitation process of many clinical conditions. Using lateral trunk lean modification as the model, the aim of this study was to assess the concurrent validity of kinematic data recorded using a marker-based 3D motion analysis (3DMA) system and a low-cost alternative, the Microsoft Kinect™ (Kinect), during a gait retraining session. Twenty healthy adults were trained to modify their gait to obtain a lateral trunk lean angle of 10°. Real-time biofeedback of the lateral trunk lean angle was provided on a computer screen in front of the subject using data extracted from the Kinect skeletal tracking algorithm. Marker coordinate data were concurrently recorded using the 3DMA system, and the similarity and equivalency of the trunk lean angle data from each system were compared. The lateral trunk lean angle data obtained from the Kinect system without any form of calibration resulted in errors of a high (>2°) magnitude (mean error=3.2±2.2°). Performing global and individualized calibration significantly (P<0.001) improved this error to 1.7±1.5° and 0.8±0.8° respectively. With the addition of a simple calibration the anatomical position coordinates of the Kinect can be used to create a real-time biofeedback system for gait retraining. Given that this system is low-cost, portable and does not require any sensors to be attached to the body, it could provide numerous advantages when compared to laboratory-based gait retraining systems.

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