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Design Innovation

Measurement of Soft Tissue Deformation to Improve the Accuracy of a Body-Mounted Motion Sensor

[+] Author and Article Information
Tao Liu

Department of Intelligent Mechanical Systems Engineering, Kochi University of Technology, 185 Miyanokuchi, Tosayamada-cho, Kochi 782-8502, Japanliu.tao@kochi-tech.ac.jp

Yoshio Inoue, Kyoko Shibata

Department of Intelligent Mechanical Systems Engineering, Kochi University of Technology, 185 Miyanokuchi, Tosayamada-cho, Kochi 782-8502, Japan

J. Med. Devices 3(3), 035001 (Aug 28, 2009) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3212558 History: Received June 18, 2008; Revised July 30, 2009; Published August 28, 2009

Skin deformation caused by muscle motion is a common source of error for body-mounted sensors. A new method of measuring joint angles using a combination of two-axial accelerometers and reaction force sensors is presented. In this study, the effect of soft tissue deformation was minimized using a new reaction force sensor that is bound onto the body segment. The force sensor was designed using a pressure-sensitive electric conductive rubber. A Fourier transform of the total pressure forces induced by the body-mounted motion sensor modules was implemented to analyze the frequency property of soft tissue deformation on the human body surface. We processed the data of two-axial accelerations measured by the accelerometers using the measurements of soft tissue deformation including the total pressure force and two-directional coordinates of the center of pressure. An experimental study with ten subjects was implemented to verify the new sensor system proposed for estimating the joint angle of the knee. The effectiveness of this system is illustrated by the experimental results using an optical motion analysis system as a reference. If we use the accelerometers alone, the root mean square (RMS) difference and the coefficient of multiple correlation (CMC) over all the subjects walking at each of the three speeds (slow, average, and fast) are 6.3±1.4deg and 0.93±0.05, 6.9±1.7deg and 0.92±0.03, and 8.3±2.0deg and 0.89±0.03, respectively. If we compensate for soft tissue deformation using the surface pressure measurements, the RMS difference and the CMC in each of the three conditions are 4.7±1.1deg and 0.96±0.04, 5.0±1.5deg and 0.96±0.04, and 6.6±1.9deg and 0.93±0.03, respectively. Measurement results of the developed sensor system showed high correlation with results from two alternative methods including an optical motion analysis system and the goniometer system in walking analysis experiments. The results support the effectiveness of the proposed method in the measurement of the flexion and extension angle of the knee. The compensation for soft tissue deformation using the surface pressure measurements improved the accuracy of the body-mounted sensor in the experiments.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Soft tissue deformation measurement

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Figure 2

Reaction force sensor for measuring soft tissue deformation

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Figure 3

Prototype of reaction force sensor

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Figure 4

Prototype of motion sensor module

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Figure 5

Body-mounted sensor system.

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Figure 6

Local coordinate systems of the sensor modules.

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Figure 7

Hardware system of data sampling

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Figure 8

Data processing for the accelerometers mounted on human body.

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Figure 9

Sensor alignment

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Figure 10

Cop accelerations obtained from two sensor modules.

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Figure 11

The pressure force response and the Fourier transform

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Figure 12

Comparison between the body-mounted sensor system and the two alternative methods using the optical motion analysis system and the joint angle sensor (GonioMeter)

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Figure 13

The RMS difference and CMC of the knee angle measurements of ten subjects—we used two reference measurement systems, the Hi-Dcam system and the goniometer system, to verify the body-mounted sensor system: (a) the RMS difference and (b) the CMC

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Figure 14

The knee angles calculated using the proposed method and the two alternative methods at ground contacts during walking trials for each of the three walking speeds

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