Gait phase estimation based on noncontact capacitive sensing and adaptive oscillators

Enhao Zheng, Silvia Manca, Tingfang Yan, Andrea Parri, Nicola Vitiello, Qining Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a novel strategy aiming to acquire an accurate and walking-speed-adaptive estimation of the gait phase through noncontact capacitive sensing and adaptive oscillators (AOs). The capacitive sensing system is designed with two sensing cuffs that can measure the leg muscle shape changes during walking. The system can be dressed above the clothes and free human skin from contacting to electrodes. In order to track the capacitance signals, the gait phase estimator is designed based on the AO dynamic system due to its ability of synchronizing with quasi-periodic signals. After the implementation of the whole system, we first evaluated the offline estimation performance by experiments with 12 healthy subjects walking on a treadmill with changing speeds. The strategy achieved an accurate and consistent gait phase estimation with only one channel of capacitance signal. The average root-mean-square errors in one stride were 0.19 rad (3.0% of one gait cycle) for constant walking speeds and 0.31 rad (4.9% of one gait cycle) for speed transitions even after the subjects rewore the sensing cuffs. We then validated our strategy in a real-time gait phase estimation task with three subjects walking with changing speeds. Our study indicates that the strategy based on capacitive sensing and AOs is a promising alternative for the control of exoskeleton/orthosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7862737
Pages (from-to)2419-2430
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • adaptive oscillators
  • capacitive sensing
  • exoskeleton
  • Gait phase estimation
  • orthosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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