Foot worn inertial sensors for gait assessment and rehabilitation based on motorized shoes
Fall prevention in elderly subjects is often based on training and rehabilitation programs that include mostly traditional balance and strength exercises. By applying such conventional interventions to improve gait performance and decrease fall risk, some important factors are neglected such as the dynamics of the gait and the motor learning processes. The EU project "Self Mobility Improvement in the eLderly by counteractING falls" (SMILING project) aimed to improve age-related gait and balance performance by using unpredicted external perturbations during walking through motorized shoes that change insole inclination at each stance. This paper describes the shoe-worn inertial module and the gait analysis method needed to control in real-time the shoe insole inclination during training, as well as gait spatio-temporal parameters obtained during long distance walking before and after the 8-week training program that assessed the efficacy of training with these motorized shoes.