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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages 555-576
Research Article

Measurement of Lower Limb Joint Kinematics using Inertial Sensors During Stair Ascent and Descent in Healthy Older Adults and Stroke Survivors

Annemarie Laudanski,1 Brenda Brouwer,2 and Qingguo Li1

1Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Canada
2School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

Received 1 May 2013; Accepted 1 September 2013

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study validated the feasibility of inertial sensors in estimating lower limb joint kinematics during stair ambulation in healthy older adults and stroke survivors. Three dimensional motion data were collected using an inertial sensor-based system from 9 persons with stroke and 9 healthy older adults as they ascended and descended a staircase at a self-selected pace. The measured joint angles were compared with a laboratory-based motion capture system by computing differences in range of motion (RoM), grand mean error, standard deviation, and coefficients of multiple correlations. For stroke survivors, differences in RoM measurements between these two systems were determined to be 3.3 ± 8.1°, while the highest correlations were found in the estimation of sagittal plane joint angles after offset correction. Results suggest that the inertial sensor system is suitable for estimating major joint angles in healthy older adults as well as the RoM for stroke survivors. New calibration procedures are necessary for applying the technology to a stroke population.