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Journal Article

Citation

Tahir AM, Chowdhury MEH, Khandakar A, Al-Hamouz S, Abdalla M, Awadallah S, Reaz MBI, Al-Emadi N. Sensors (Basel) 2020; 20(4): e957.

Affiliation

Department of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University, Doha 2713, Qatar.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2020, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/s20040957

PMID

32053914

Abstract

Gait analysis is a systematic study of human locomotion, which can be utilized in variousapplications, such as rehabilitation, clinical diagnostics and sports activities. The various limitationssuch as cost, non-portability, long setup time, post-processing time etc., of the current gait analysistechniques have made them unfeasible for individual use. This led to an increase in research interestin developing smart insoles where wearable sensors can be employed to detect vertical groundreaction forces (vGRF) and other gait variables. Smart insoles are flexible, portable and comfortablefor gait analysis, and can monitor plantar pressure frequently through embedded sensors thatconvert the applied pressure to an electrical signal that can be displayed and analyzed further.Several research teams are still working to improve the insoles' features such as size, sensitivity ofinsoles sensors, durability, and the intelligence of insoles to monitor and control subjects' gait bydetecting various complications providing recommendation to enhance walking performance. Even though systematic sensor calibration approaches have been followed by different teams to calibrateinsoles' sensor, expensive calibration devices were used for calibration such as universal testingmachines or infrared motion capture cameras equipped in motion analysis labs. This paper providesa systematic design and characterization procedure for three different pressure sensors: forcesensitiveresistors (FSRs), ceramic piezoelectric sensors, and flexible piezoelectric sensors that canbe used for detecting vGRF using a smart insole. A simple calibration method based on a load cellis presented as an alternative to the expensive calibration techniques. In addition, to evaluate theperformance of the different sensors as a component for the smart insole, the acquired vGRF fromdifferent insoles were used to compare them. The results showed that the FSR is the most effectivesensor among the three sensors for smart insole applications, whereas the piezoelectric sensors canbe utilized in detecting the start and end of the gait cycle. This study will be useful for any researchgroup in replicating the design of a customized smart insole for gait analysis.


Language: en

Keywords

characterization; force sensitive resistors; gait analysis; piezoelectric sensors; sensor calibration; smart insole; vertical ground reaction forces

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