Physical sensor difference-based method and virtual sensor difference-based method for visual and quantitative estimation of lower limb 3D gait posture using accelerometers and magnetometers.
A novel method for measuring human gait posture using wearable sensor units is proposed. The sensor units consist of a tri-axial acceleration sensor and three gyro sensors aligned on three axes. The acceleration and angular velocity during walking were measured with seven sensor units worn on the abdomen and the lower limb segments (both thighs, shanks and feet). The three-dimensional positions of each joint are calculated from each segment length and joint angle. Joint angle can be estimated mechanically from the gravitational acceleration along the anterior axis of the segment. However, the acceleration data during walking includes three major components; translational acceleration, gravitational acceleration and external noise. Therefore, an optimization analysis was represented to separate only the gravitational acceleration from the acceleration data. Because the cyclic patterns of acceleration data can be found during constant walking, a FFT analysis was applied to obtain some characteristic frequencies in it. A pattern of gravitational acceleration was assumed using some parts of these characteristic frequencies. Every joint position was calculated from the pattern under the condition of physiological motion range of each joint. An optimized pattern of the gravitational acceleration was selected as a solution of an inverse problem. Gaits of three healthy volunteers were measured by walking for 20s on a flat floor. As a result, the acceleration data of every segment was measured simultaneously. The characteristic three-dimensional walking could be shown by the expression using a stick figure model. In addition, the trajectories of the knee joint in the horizontal plane could be checked by visual imaging on a PC. Therefore, this method provides important quantitive information for gait diagnosis.