DTI funded proposal: 2011-12

Device for Accurate an Autonomous Medical Gait Characterization

The work described in this proposal is part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota, Advanced Medical Electronics (Maple Grove, MN) and the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis at Gillette Children’s Hospital (St. Paul, MN) to develop a compact and portable gait monitoring device to assess the outcome of orthopedic surgical procedures.

In more concrete terms, the focus of the work will be to develop the algorithms and system hardware required for such a gait monitoring device. While there are solutions on the market today purported to provide gait monitoring, they do not provide accurate measurements of key gait parameters (e.g., step size, cadence, and motion classification) or are unwieldy and cumbersome, thereby biasing information crucial to assessing medical outcomes. The approach we propose is based on using high-fidelity human motion models to aid a network of low cost accelerometer/gyros affixed to strategic points on the body of the user. The motion models act, in effect, as virtual sensors and allow the amount of physical hardware to be worn by the individual being monitored to be at a minimum. The motion models are both generic (e.g. walking, jumping, sitting down, etc.) and specially tailored to reflect a person’s unique patterns of motion.

The proposed work will leverage algorithm development work done at the Department of Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics, the clinical and medical evaluation expertise of the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis, and hardware and system integration expertise of Advanced Medical Electronics (AME). In particular, AME’s prototype of a compact and wireless inertial measurement unit will be used to realize the prototype system.