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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan 23

Sensors (Basel)



A Multi-Sensor Cane Can Detect Changes in Gait Caused by Simulated Gait Abnormalities and Walking Terrains.



Due to the increasing rates of chronic diseases and an aging population, the use of assistive devices for ambulation is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. Instrumenting these devices has been proposed as a non-invasive way to proactively monitor changes in gait due to the presence of pain or a condition in outdoor and indoor environments. In this paper, we evaluated the effectiveness of a multi-sensor cane in detecting changes in gait due to the presence of simulated gait abnormalities, walking terrains, impaired vision, and incorrect cane lengths. The effectiveness of the instrumented cane was compared with the results obtained directly from a shank-mounted inertial measurement unit. Results from 30 healthy participants obtained while simulating gait abnormalities and walking over different terrains demonstrated the ability of the cane to reliably and effectively discriminate among these walking conditions. Moreover, the results obtained while walking with impaired vision and incorrect cane lengths indicate the ability of cane to detect changes in gait during these scenarios as well.