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Knee-joint kinematics analysis using an optimal sensor set and a reliable algorithm would be useful in the gait analysis. An original approach for ambulatory estimation of knee-joint angles in anatomical coordinate system is presented, which is composed of a physical-sensor-difference-based algorithm and virtual-sensor-difference-based algorithm. To test the approach, a wearable monitoring system composed of accelerometers and magnetometers was developed and evaluated on lower limb. The flexion/extension (f/e), abduction/adduction (a/a), and inversion/extension (i/e) rotation angles of the knee joint in the anatomical joint coordinate system were estimated. In this method, since there is no integration of angular acceleration or angular velocity, the result is not distorted by offset and drift. The three knee-joint angles within the anatomical coordinate system are independent of the orders, which must be considered when Euler angles are used. Besides, since there are no physical sensors implanted in the knee joint based on the virtual-sensor-difference-based algorithm, it is feasible to analyze knee-joint kinematics with less numbers and types of sensors than those mentioned in some others methods. Compared with results from the reference system, the developed wearable sensor system is available to do gait analysis with fewer sensors and high degree of accuracy.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011