Biosensors for point-of-care locomotor propulsion diagnostics

Walking requires the coordination of three locomotor subtasks–propulsion, limb advancement, and bodyweight support. In many neurologic diagnostic groups, a propulsion deficit exists where one or both limbs are unable to generate adequate propulsion forces during walking, with major clinical, biomechanical, and physiological consequences.

Improving locomotor propulsion is a key target of the rehabilitation technologies and interventions that are being developed by our research team and others. Unfortunately, the gold standard for measuring this crucial biomechanical parameter is the use of in-ground forceplates and instrumented treadmills; due to the high cost and advanced training required to use forceplate technologies, most clinicians do not have access to the tools needed to measure and manage propulsion deficits. Moreover, laboratory-based forceplate systems typically have limited measurement footprints and yield measurements with poor ecological validity. The clinical management of locomotor propulsion deficits will remain untenable without the advance of clinically-accessible propulsion diagnostic systems. In response to this need, our team is developing novel sensor algorithms that use data collected from small, cheap, and unobtrusive inertial measurement units to accurately estimate locomotor ground reaction forces outside of the laboratory.

Project Team

Publications

Indirect Measurement of Anterior-Posterior Ground Reaction Forces using a Minimal Set of Wearable Inertial Sensors: From Healthy to Hemiparetic Walking.
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
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(see pdf or link)

These Legs were Made for Propulsion: Advancing the Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Stroke Propulsion Deficits.
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.
(see pdf or link)