IMU-based Ambulatory Walking Speed Estimation in Constrained Treadmill and Overground Walking

Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2012;15(3):313-22. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2010.534465. Epub 2011 May 24.


This study evaluated the performance of a walking speed estimation system based on using an inertial measurement unit (IMU), a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes. The walking speed estimation algorithm segments the walking sequence into individual stride cycles (two steps) based on the inverted pendulum-like behaviour of the stance leg during walking and it integrates the angular velocity and linear accelerations of the shank to determine the displacement of each stride. The evaluation was performed in both treadmill and overground walking experiments with various constraints on walking speed, step length and step frequency to provide a relatively comprehensive assessment of the system. Promising results were obtained in providing accurate and consistent walking speed/step length estimation in different walking conditions. An overall percentage root mean squared error (%RMSE) of 4.2 and 4.0% was achieved in treadmill and overground walking experiments, respectively. With an increasing interest in understanding human walking biomechanics, the IMU-based ambulatory system could provide a useful walking speed/step length measurement/control tool for constrained walking studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*