Ubiquitous Gait Analysis through Footstep-Induced Floor Vibrations.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)(2024)

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Quantitative analysis of human gait is critical for the early discovery, progressive tracking, and rehabilitation of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, and cerebral palsy. Gait analysis typically involves estimating gait characteristics, such as spatiotemporal gait parameters and gait health indicators (e.g., step time, length, symmetry, and balance). Traditional methods of gait analysis involve the use of cameras, wearables, and force plates but are limited in operational requirements when applied in daily life, such as direct line-of-sight, carrying devices, and dense deployment. This paper introduces a novel approach for gait analysis by passively sensing floor vibrations generated by human footsteps using vibration sensors mounted on the floor surface. Our approach is low-cost, non-intrusive, and perceived as privacy-friendly, making it suitable for continuous gait health monitoring in daily life. Our algorithm estimates various gait parameters that are used as standard metrics in medical practices, including temporal parameters (step time, stride time, stance time, swing time, double-support time, and single-support time), spatial parameters (step length, width, angle, and stride length), and extracts gait health indicators (cadence/walking speed, left-right symmetry, gait balance, and initial contact types). The main challenge we addressed in this paper is the effect of different floor types on the resultant vibrations. We develop floor-adaptive algorithms to extract features that are generalizable to various practical settings, including homes, hospitals, and eldercare facilities. We evaluate our approach through real-world walking experiments with 20 adults with 12,231 labeled gait cycles across concrete and wooden floors. Our results show 90.5% (RMSE 0.08s), 71.3% (RMSE 0.38m), and 92.3% (RMSPE 7.7%) accuracy in estimating temporal, spatial parameters, and gait health indicators, respectively.
gait analysis,spatiotemporal parameter,structural vibration
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