Wearable robotic devices require sensors and algorithms that can recognize the user state in real-time, in order to provide synergistic action with the body. For devices intended for locomotion-related applications, shoe-embedded sensors are a common and convenient choice, potentially advantageous for performing gait assessment in real-world environments. In this work, we present the development of a pair of pressure-sensitive insoles based on optoelectronic sensors for the real-time estimation of temporal gait parameters. The new design makes use of a simplified sensor configuration that preserves the time accuracy of gait event detection relative to previous prototypes. The system has been assessed relatively to a commercial force plate recording the vertical component of the ground reaction force (vGRF) and the coordinate of the center of pressure along the so-called progression or antero-posterior plane (CoPAP
) in ten healthy participants during ground-level walking at two speeds. The insoles showed overall median absolute errors (MAE) of 0.06 (0.02) s and 0.04 (0.02) s for heel-strike and toe-off recognition, respectively. Moreover, they enabled reasonably accurate estimations of the stance phase duration (2.02 (2.03) % error) and CoPAP
profiles (Pearson correlation coefficient with force platform ρCoP = 0.96 (0.02)), whereas the correlation with vGRF measured by the force plate was lower than that obtained with the previous prototype (ρvGRF = 0.47 (0.20)). These results confirm the suitability of the insoles for online sensing purposes such as timely gait phase estimation and discrete event recognition.
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