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In Digital biomarkers

Analyzing human gait with inertial sensors provides valuable insights into a wide range of health impairments, including many musculoskeletal and neurological diseases. A representative and reliable assessment of gait requires continuous monitoring over long periods and ideally takes place in the subjects' habitual environment (real-world). An inconsistent sensor wearing position can affect gait characterization and influence clinical study results, thus clinical study protocols are typically highly proscriptive, instructing all participants to wear the sensor in a uniform manner. This restrictive approach improves data quality but reduces overall adherence. In this work, we analyze the impact of altering the sensor wearing position around the waist on sensor signal and step detection. We demonstrate that an asymmetrically worn sensor leads to additional odd-harmonic frequency components in the frequency spectrum. We propose a robust solution for step detection based on autocorrelation to overcome sensor position variation (sensitivity = 0.99, precision = 0.99). The proposed solution reduces the impact of inconsistent sensor positioning on gait characterization in clinical studies, thus providing more flexibility to protocol implementation and more freedom to participants to wear the sensor in the position most comfortable to them. This work is a first step towards truly position-agnostic gait assessment in clinical settings.

Tietsch Matthias, Muaremi Amir, Clay Ieuan, Kluge Felix, Hoefling Holger, Ullrich Martin, Küderle Arne, Eskofier Bjoern M, Müller Arne

2020

Autocorrelation, Gait monitoring, Inertial sensor, Step detection, Waist-worn