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A reliable gait phase detection system

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5 Author(s)
I. P. I. Pappas ; Autom. Control Lab., Swiss Federal Inst. of Technol., Zurich, Switzerland ; M. R. Popovic ; T. Keller ; V. Dietz
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A new highly reliable gait phase detection system, which can be used in gait analysis applications and to control the gait cycle of a neuroprosthesis for walking, is described. The system was designed to detect in real-time the following gait phases: stance, heel-off, swing, and heel-strike. The gait phase detection system employed a gyroscope to measure the angular velocity of the foot and three force sensitive resistors to assess the forces exerted by the foot on the shoe sole during walking. A rule-based detection algorithm, which was running on a portable microprocessor board, processed the sensor signals. In the presented experimental study ten able bodied subjects and six subjects with impaired gait tested the device in both indoor and outdoor environments (0-25°C). The subjects were asked to walk on flat and irregular surfaces, to step over small obstacles, to walk on inclined surfaces, and to ascend and descend stairs. Despite the significant variation in the individual walking styles the system achieved an overall detection reliability above 99% for both subject groups for the tasks involving walking on flat, irregular, and inclined surfaces. In the case of stair climbing and descending tasks the success rate of the system was above 99% for the able body subjects and above 96% for the subjects with impaired gait. The experiments also showed that the gait phase detection system, unlike other similar devices, was insensitive to perturbations caused by nonwalking activities such as weight shifting between legs during standing, feet sliding, sitting down, and standing up.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 2 )