After decades of development, quantitative instruments for human gait analysis have become an important tool for revealing underlying pathologies manifested by gait abnormalities. However, the gold standard instruments (e.g., optical motion capture systems) are commonly expensive and complex while needing expert operation and maintenance and thereby be limited to a small number of specialized gait laboratories. Therefore, in current clinical settings, gait analysis still mainly relies on visual observation and assessment. Due to recent developments in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, the cost and size of gyroscopes are decreasing, while the accuracy is being improved, which provides an effective way for qualifying gait features. This chapter aims to give a close examination of human gait patterns (normal and abnormal) using gyroscope-based wearable technology. Both healthy subjects and hemiparesis patients participated in the experiment, and experimental results show that foot-mounted gyroscopes could assess gait abnormalities in both temporal and spatial domains. Gait analysis systems constructed of wearable gyroscopes can be more easily used in both clinical and home environments than their gold standard counterparts, which have few requirements for operation, maintenance, and working environment, thereby suggesting a promising future for gait analysis.
Part of the book: Gyroscopes