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Technical Briefs

A Low Power Wireless Data Acquisition Device to Monitor Gait Patterns for Children With Toe Walking During Daily Activities

[+] Author and Article Information
Edmond H. M. Lou1

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2V4, Canada; Research and Technology Development, Alberta Health Services-Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Site, 10230-111 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T5G 0B7, Canadaelou@ualberta.ca

Emma K. Brunton, Andreas Renggli, Justin Lewicke

Research and Technology Development, Alberta Health Services-Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Site, 10230-111 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T5G 0B7, Canada

Fraaz Kamal

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2V4, Canada

Kyle Kemp, Dulai Sukhdeep

Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2B7, Canada

Joe M. Watt, John Andersen

Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2B7, Canada

1

Corresponding author.

J. Med. Devices 5(2), 024501 (May 31, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003809 History: Received March 25, 2010; Revised March 08, 2011; Published May 31, 2011; Online May 31, 2011

Clinical gait analysis is the accepted “gold standard” for evaluating an individual’s walking pattern. However, in certain conditions such as idiopathic toe walking (ITW), the degree of voluntary control that a subject may elicit upon their walking pattern in a gait laboratory may not truly reflect their gait during daily activities. Therefore, a battery-powered, wireless data acquisition system was developed to record daily walking patterns to assist in the assessment of treatment outcomes in this patient population. The device was developed to be small (30×50×12mm3), light-weight (15 g), easy to install, reliable, and consumed little power. It could be mounted across the laces of the shoe, while forces and walking activities were recorded to investigate the percentage of toe walking during the assessment. Laboratory tests were performed and preliminary clinical trials at a gait laboratory were done on six normal gait walkers. These volunteers also try to walk on their toes to simulate the toe walking at the gait laboratory. The system was able to track the gait pattern and determine the percentage of toe walking relative to normal gait. Three boys and one girl were diagnosed with ITW then participated into this study. A total of 4 sets thirty-three 10 min data sessions (5.5 h) were collected outside the laboratory. The results showed that the test subjects walked on their toes 70±4% of the total walking time, which was higher than that they performed 64±5% at the gait laboratory. This preliminary study shows promising results that the system should be able to use for clinical assessment and evaluation of children with ITW.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The data acquisition system, an AAA sized and a coin cell battery, and the two force sensors

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Figure 2

(a) The volunteer’s foot with the data acquisition unit and reflective markers for motion capture system. (b) The illustration of the foot-floor angle at different positions and the x, y, and z directions of the accelerometer.

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Figure 6

(a) Data collected from the ITW subject during daily activities in one session (10 min–600 s). (b) The data at the 420–435 s in the same 10 min session.

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Figure 5

(a) Foot-floor angle and force data from the accelerometer during normal gait. (b) Foot-floor angle from the motion capture system during normal gait. (c) Foot-floor angle and force data from the accelerometer during toe walking. (d) Foot-floor angle from the motion capture system during toe walking.

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Figure 4

The calibration results of the Flexiforce sensor

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Figure 3

The block diagram of the gait pattern monitoring system

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