Date Thesis Awarded

5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Physics

Advisor

William Cooke

Committee Members

Keith Griffioen

Dennis Manos

Jim Deverick

Abstract

In an ongoing experiment being conducted at The Williamsburg Landing by The Center for Balance and Aging Studies (CBAS), gait analysis is being performed on senior citizens in order to identify gait characteristics that are predictive of an increased likelihood to fall. This thesis describes the design and analysis of wearable sensors meant to assist the Williamsburg Landing study by increasing the efficiency and breadth of data collection. These sensors collect distance data from the foot to the ground over the course of multiple steps and return an approximation of the average step cycle for the subject. From my analysis of the sensor data, I was able to determine key gait characteristics such as the step clearance and foot angle. Additionally, I created a mathematical gait model to compare with my data, using input parameters based on the subject's gait. I found that my model called for an additional damping term in order to agree with my data, suggesting that the leg swing during a step is more controlled than previously expected. Improving the efficiency and reliability of data collection in this experiment is important, as determining fall likelihood is a crucial step in preventing falls that are incredibly dangerous to senior citizens.

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