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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Closing the Wearable Gap—Part III: Use of Stretch Sensors in Detecting Ankle Joint Kinematics During Unexpected and Expected Slip and Trip Perturbations

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Department of Kinesiology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
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Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
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Department of Industrial Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
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Department of Agricultural and Biomedical Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(10), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8101083
Received: 19 August 2019 / Revised: 10 September 2019 / Accepted: 21 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Motion Analysis)
Background: An induced loss of balance resulting from a postural perturbation has been reported as the primary source for postural instability leading to falls. Hence; early detection of postural instability with novel wearable sensor-based measures may aid in reducing falls and fall-related injuries. The purpose of the study was to validate the use of a stretchable soft robotic sensor (SRS) to detect ankle joint kinematics during both unexpected and expected slip and trip perturbations. Methods: Ten participants (age: 23.7 ± 3.13 years; height: 170.47 ± 8.21 cm; mass: 82.86 ± 23.4 kg) experienced a counterbalanced exposure of an unexpected slip, an unexpected trip, an expected slip, and an expected trip using treadmill perturbations. Ankle joint kinematics for dorsiflexion and plantarflexion were quantified using three-dimensional (3D) motion capture through changes in ankle joint range of motion and using the SRS through changes in capacitance when stretched due to ankle movements during the perturbations. Results: A greater R-squared and lower root mean square error in the linear regression model was observed in comparing ankle joint kinematics data from motion capture with stretch sensors. Conclusions: Results from the study demonstrated that 71.25% of the trials exhibited a minimal error of less than 4.0 degrees difference from the motion capture system and a greater than 0.60 R-squared value in the linear model; suggesting a moderate to high accuracy and minimal errors in comparing SRS to a motion capture system. Findings indicate that the stretch sensors could be a feasible option in detecting ankle joint kinematics during slips and trips. View Full-Text
Keywords: falls; slips; trips; postural perturbations; wearables; stretch-sensors; ankle kinematics falls; slips; trips; postural perturbations; wearables; stretch-sensors; ankle kinematics
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Chander, H.; Stewart, E.; Saucier, D.; Nguyen, P.; Luczak, T.; Ball, J.E.; Knight, A.C.; Smith, B.K.; V, R.F.B.; Prabhu, R.K. Closing the Wearable Gap—Part III: Use of Stretch Sensors in Detecting Ankle Joint Kinematics During Unexpected and Expected Slip and Trip Perturbations. Electronics 2019, 8, 1083.

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