Improvement of walking speed prediction by accelerometry and altimetry, validated by satellite positioning

Abstract

Activity monitors based on accelerometry are used to predict the speed and energy cost of walking at 0% slope, but not at other inclinations. Parallel measurements of body accelerations and altitude variation were studied to determine whether walking speed prediction could be improved. Fourteen subjects walked twice along a 1.3km circuit with substantial slope variations (−17% to +17%). The parameters recorded were body acceleration using a uni-axial accelerometer, altitude variation using differential barometry, and walking speed using satellite positioning (DGPS). Linear regressions were calculated between acceleration and walking speed, and between acceleration/altitude and walking speed. These predictive models, calculated using the data from the first circuit run, were used to predict speed during the second circuit. Finally the predicted velocity was compared with the measured one. The result was that acceleration alone failed to predict speed (meanr=0.4). Adding altitude variation improved the prediction (meanr=0.7). With regard to the altitude/acceleration-speed relationship, substantial inter-individual variation was found. It is concluded that accelerometry, combined with altitude measurement, can assess position variations of humans provided inter-individual variation is taken into account. It is also confirmed that DGPS can be used for outdoor walking speed measurements, opening up new perspectives in the field of biomechanics.

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Correspondence to Dr Y. Schutz.

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Perrin, O., Terrier, P., Ladetto, Q. et al. Improvement of walking speed prediction by accelerometry and altimetry, validated by satellite positioning. Med. Biol. Eng. Comput. 38, 164–168 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02344771

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Keywords

  • Human locomotion
  • Uphill and downhill walking
  • Accelerometer
  • Differential barometry
  • Differential satellite positioning