Cross-validation of a portable, six-degree-of-freedom load cell for use in lower-limb prosthetics research

J Biomech. 2014 Apr 11;47(6):1542-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.01.048. Epub 2014 Feb 15.


The iPecs load cell is a lightweight, six-degree-of-freedom force transducer designed to fit easily into an endoskeletal prosthesis via a universal mounting interface. Unlike earlier tethered systems, it is capable of wireless data transmission and on-board memory storage, which facilitate its use in both clinical and real-world settings. To date, however, the validity of the iPecs load cell has not been rigorously established, particularly for loading conditions that represent typical prosthesis use. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of an iPecs load cell during in situ human subject testing by cross-validating its force and moment measurements with those of a typical gait analysis laboratory. Specifically, the gait mechanics of a single person with transtibial amputation were simultaneously measured using an iPecs load cell, multiple floor-mounted force platforms, and a three-dimensional motion capture system. Overall, the forces and moments measured by the iPecs were highly correlated with those measured by the gait analysis laboratory (r>0.86) and RMSEs were less than 3.4% and 5.2% full scale output across all force and moment channels, respectively. Despite this favorable comparison, however, the results of a sensitivity analysis suggest that care should be taken to accurately identify the axes and instrumentation center of the load cell in situations where iPecs data will be interpreted in a coordinate system other than its own (e.g., inverse dynamics analysis).

Keywords: Amputation; Force transducer; Gait analysis; Load cell; Prosthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Artificial Limbs
  • Calibration
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Materials Testing*
  • Motion
  • Prosthesis Design*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Walking
  • Weight-Bearing