Applications of Vibration-Based Occupant Inference in Frailty Diagnosis through Passive, In-Situ Gait Monitoring

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Virginia Tech

This work demonstrates an application of Vibration-Based Occupant Inference (VBOI) in frailty analysis. The rise of both Internet-of-Things (IoT) and VBOI provide new techniques to perform gait analysis via footstep-induced vibration which can be analyzed for early detection of human frailty. Thus, this work provides an application of VBOI to passively track gait parameters (e.g., gait speed) using floor-mounted accelerometers as opposed to using a manual chronometer as it is commonly performed by healthcare professionals.

The first part of this thesis describes the techniques used for footstep detection by measuring the power of the footstep-generated vibration waves. The extraction of temporal gait parameters from consecutive footsteps can then be used to estimate temporal features such as cadence and stride time variation.

VBOI provides many algorithms to accurately detect when a human-induced vibration event happened, however, spatial information is also needed for many gait parameters used in frailty diagnosis. Detecting where an event happened is a complicated problem because footsteps waves travel and decay in different ways according to the medium (floor system), the number of people walking, and even the walking speed. Therefore, the second part of this work will utilize an energy-based approach of footstep localization in which it is assumed that footstep waves decay exponentially as they travel across the medium. The results from this approach are then used to calculate spatial and tempo-spatial parameters.

The main goal of this study is to understand the applicability of VBOI algorithms in gait analysis for frailty detection in a healthcare setting.

Frailty, Gait Analysis, Footstep Localization, Accelerometers, Smart Buildings