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Using wearable sensors to analyze the quality of use of mobility assistive devices

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6 Author(s)
T. Hester ; Dept of PM&R, Harvard Med. Sch., Boston, MA, USA ; D. M. Sherrill ; M. Hamel ; K. Perreault
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Many older adults with chronic disabilities and diminished movement abilities use mobility assistive devices such as canes. Once taken home, these mobility assistive devices are commonly misused or not used at all. A means for assessing the use of a cane in the home setting is needed to aid clinicians in the prescription of such devices. In this study, we propose the use of wearable sensors to monitor the quality of use of a cane. Wearable sensors are used to identify the motor task (e.g. level walking, walking on an incline, stair climbing) that a subject is performing whereas sensors on the cane are utilized to evaluate the use of the cane in the context of the identified task. Results from 15 patients with arthritis indicate that the motor tasks of interest can be reliably identified (i.e. for average sensitivity equal to 95%, specificity is greater than 95%). The distribution of load values and features derived from the sensors on the cane suggest that the proposed technique is highly sensitive to differences in quality of use across individuals and differences in the dynamics of loading the cane across motor tasks

Published in:

International Workshop on Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN'06)

Date of Conference:

3-5 April 2006