IntelliGait - Intelligent Gait Analysis

Intelligent Gait Analysis - Using machine learning for pattern recognition and gait classification.

This project takes advantage of a large-scale database of real-world clinical gait data captured during clinical praxis of the Rehabilitation Center Weißer Hof (AUVA). This dataset enables us to develop novel machine based learning methods for automated gait analysis and classification.

Instrumented gait analysis has become a crucial assessment tool in clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation centers to understand various (pathological) human movement patterns. Such three dimensional gait analysis (3DGA) techniques use motion capturing techniques and the measurement of ground reaction forces (GRF) via force plates to estimate joint kinematics and kinetics. By applying inverse dynamic calculations to the kinematic and GRF data, kinetic quantities such as joint moments and powers can be estimated. Up to date, these measures build the “gold standard” in clinical gait analysis and allow for the assessment of a large amount of biomechanical gait parameters. The potential drawback of this approach is, that it is a very time consuming, requires highly trained staff to acquire valid and reliable results, and the acquisition costs for the measurement systems are very expensive.

The GRF represent the most commonly used biomechanical signals to analyze human gait, because the necessary equipment is affordable and the process of data collection is simple, therefore allowing for high patient throughput. In total the GRF comprises a vertical force component and shear forces in medio-lateral and anterior-posterior directions. In clinical practice out of these three signals several parameters are derived which are used for further analysis and decision making.

However, apart from the simplicity of GRF data capturing, physical therapists and clinicians are often faced with a vast amount of GRF data and the need to interpret these data correctly. Due to the absence of automated analysis methods, the inspection of the data is performed visually, which is time-consuming and leads to subjective assessments.

Automatic analysis methods bear the potential to provide objective measurements and assessments of the signals. Recently, different methods have been introduced for the automatic classification of gait patterns. Existing methods, however, usually focus only on one specific functional deficit and are not applicable to the broad range of deficits that occur in clinical praxis. Furthermore, existing techniques are developed on rather small (artificial) datasets that do not reflect the complexity of data captured in clinical praxis. A still unsolved problem is the automatic generation of a generally applicable model for normal behavior that takes different parameters as walking speed, gender, body height, etc. into account and helps to distinguish normal behavior from abnormal behavior.

In this project our research partner maintains a large dataset of GRF data that contains measurements of patients with different ages, weights, and a broad range of functional deficits as well as detailed clinical diagnoses for each patient. This exceptional large-scale dataset bears the potential to develop novel powerful analysis techniques for gait patterns that fulfill the strong requirements of therapists and clinicians and are thus applicable in clinical daily routine. The novel methods should in future support the expert in detecting pathological or abnormal behavior, in making medical diagnoses and in the assessment of rehabilitation and training progress.

Brian Horsak (FH St. Pölten)
Anna-Maria Gorgas (FH St. Pölten)
Arnold Baca (Vienna University)
Markus Schüller (Vienna University)

Press articles