Sensorized assessment of dynamic locomotor imagery in people with stroke and healthy subjects

Daniela De Bartolo, Valeria Belluscio, Giuseppe Vannozzi, Giovanni Morone, Gabriella Antonucci, Gianluca Giordani, Stefania Santucci, Federica Resta, Franco Marinozzi, Fabiano Bini, Stefano Paolucci, Marco Iosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamic motor imagery (dMI) is a motor imagery task associated with movements partially mimicking those mentally represented. As well as conventional motor imagery, dMI has been typically assessed by mental chronometry tasks. In this paper, an instrumented approach was proposed for quantifying the correspondence between upper and lower limb oscillatory movements performed on the spot during the dMI of walking vs. during actual walking. Magneto-inertial measurement units were used to measure limb swinging in three different groups: young adults, older adults and stroke patients. Participants were tested in four experimental conditions: (i) simple limb swinging; (ii) limb swinging while imagining to walk (dMI-task); (iii) mental chronometry task, without any movement (pure MI); (iv) actual level walking at comfortable speed. Limb swinging was characterized in terms of the angular velocity, frequency of oscillations and sinusoidal waveform. The dMI was effective at reproducing upper limb oscillations more similar to those occurring during walking for all the three groups, but some exceptions occurred for lower limbs. This finding could be related to the sensory feedback, stretch reflexes and ground reaction forces occurring for lower limbs and not for upper limbs during walking. In conclusion, the instrumented approach through wearable motion devices adds significant information to the current dMI approach, further supporting their applications in neurorehabilitation for monitoring imagery training protocols in patients with stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4545
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2020


  • Gait
  • Inertial sensors
  • Instrumented movement analysis
  • Motor imagery
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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