Reliable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective wearable sensors are desirable for continuous measurements of flexions and torsions of the trunk, in order to assess risks and prevent injuries related to body movements in various contexts. Piezo-capacitive stretch sensors, made of dielectric elastomer membranes coated with compliant electrodes, have recently been described as a wearable, lightweight and low-cost technology to monitor body kinematics. An increase of their capacitance upon stretching can be used to sense angular movements. Here, we report on a wearable wireless system that, using two sensing stripes arranged on shoulder straps, can detect flexions and torsions of the trunk, following a simple and fast calibration with a conventional tri-axial gyroscope on board. The piezo-capacitive sensors avoid the errors that would be introduced by continuous sensing with a gyroscope, due to its typical drift. Relative to stereophotogrammetry (non-wearable standard system for motion capture), pure flexions and pure torsions could be detected by the pie-zo-capacitive sensors with a root mean square error of ~8° and ~12°, respectively, whilst for flexion and torsion components in compound movements, the error was ∼13° and ~15°, respectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Information Systems
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering