Soft Wearable Motion Sensing Suit for Lower Limb Biomechanics Measurements


Y. Menguc, et al., “Soft Wearable Motion Sensing Suit for Lower Limb Biomechanics Measurements,” in IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2013.
menguc_icra13.pdf1.92 MB

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Motion sensing has played an important role in
the study of human biomechanics as well as the entertainment
industry. Although existing technologies, such as optical or
inertial based motion capture systems, have relatively high
accuracy in detecting body motions, they still have inherent
limitations with regards to mobility and wearability. In this
paper, we present a soft motion sensing suit for measuring lower
extremity joint motion. The sensing suit prototype includes a
pair of elastic tights and three hyperelastic strain sensors. The
strain sensors are made of silicone elastomer with embedded
microchannels filled with conductive liquid. To form a sensing
suit, these sensors are attached at the hip, knee, and ankle areas
to measure the joint angles in the sagittal plane. The prototype
motion sensing suit has significant potential as an autonomous
system that can be worn by individuals during many activities
outside the laboratory, from running to rock climbing. In this
study we characterize the hyperelastic sensors in isolation to
determine their mechanical and electrical responses to strain,
and then demonstrate the sensing capability of the integrated
suit in comparison with a ground truth optical motion capture
system. Using simple calibration techniques, we can accurately
track joint angles and gait phase. Our efforts result in a
calculated trade off: with a maximum error less than 8%, the
sensing suit does not track joints as accurately as optical motion
capture, but its wearability means that it is not constrained to
use only in a lab.

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