Effects of Gait Strategy and Speed on Regularity of Locomotion Assessed in Healthy Subjects Using a Multi-Sensor Method

Marco Rabuffetti, Giovanni Marco Scalera, Maurizio Ferrarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The regularity of pseudo-periodic human movements, including locomotion, can be assessed by autocorrelation analysis of measurements using inertial sensors. Though sensors are generally placed on the trunk or pelvis, movement regularity can be assessed at any body location. Pathological factors are expected to reduce regularity either globally or on specific anatomical subparts. However, other non-pathological factors, including gait strategy (walking and running) and speed, modulate locomotion regularity, thus potentially confounding the identification of the pathological factor. The present study's objectives were (1) to define a multi-sensor method based on the autocorrelation analysis of the acceleration module (norm of the acceleration vector) to quantify regularity; (2) to conduct an experimental study on healthy adult subjects to quantify the effect on movement regularity of gait strategy (walking and running at the same velocity), gait speed (four speeds, lower three for walking, upper two for running), and sensor location (on four different body parts). Twenty-five healthy adults participated and four triaxial accelerometers were located on the seventh cervical vertebra (C7), pelvis, wrist, and ankle. The results showed that increasing velocity was associated with increasing regularity only for walking, while no difference in regularity was observed between walking and running. Regularity was generally highest at C7 and ankle, and lowest at the wrist. These data confirm and complement previous literature on regularity assessed on the trunk, and will support future analyses on individuals or groups with specific pathologies affecting locomotor functions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 26 2019


  • accelerometer
  • autocorrelation
  • human
  • locomotion
  • motion
  • regularity
  • variability
  • wearable/inertial sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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