Tracking of Human Walking and Reaching with Inertial Measurement Units


This study examines how humans walk on different types of terrains such as uneven or bumpy terrains, on sidewalks, and grass. These terrains may cause people to alter their walking, move their body differently, and increase the effort of walking. The main purpose of this study is to determine how humans make adjustments, maintain balance, and otherwise compensate for such terrain.

The study is also about whether the decisions humans make about walking are similar to those for other movements such as reaching with the upper extremity. Humans often make point-to-point reaching at self-selected speeds. The speed trajectory resembles the speed trajectories for walking (Carlisle & Kuo, 2023). In this study we will compare walking and reaching trajectories to investigate whether there are common mechanisms underlying the control of reaching and walking.

Other aspects of this study include the adjustments that humans make to their speed and balance on different terrains and when time is important.

The experiments of this study involve walking both in and outside the laboratory, on a variety of terrains, reaching and placing objects by arm, and in daily life. Subjects will walk and reach at objects by arm in a variety of conditions, while their motion and energy expenditure are measured. Depending on subject's availability, the study has components that could take one to four hours. One optional section that involves self tracking daily life activities can take up to eight hours.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 90

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

People who can walk on uneven terrains such as easy to moderate hiking trails and can reach and place objects such as a mug.

Exclusion criteria:

People who are not comfortable with walking on uneven terrains that have discrete step height changes such as side walks or some irregularities such as moderate hiking terrains. Also, people who have difficulties of grasping objects by hand and placing them on a specific location.


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Principal investigator:

Arthur Kuo

Clinical trial: