Polymer Optical Fiber Goniometer: A New Portable, Low Cost and Reliable Sensor for Joint Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Dec 6;18(12):4293. doi: 10.3390/s18124293.


The quantitative measurement of an articular motion is an important indicator of its functional state and for clinical and pathology diagnoses. Joint angle evaluation techniques can be applied to improve sports performance and provide feedback information for prostheses control. Polymer optical fiber (POF) sensors are presented as a novel method to evaluate joint angles, because they are compact, lightweight, flexible and immune to electromagnetic interference. This study aimed to characterize and implement a new portable and wearable system to measure angles based on a POF curvature sensor. This study also aimed to present the system performance in bench tests and in the measurement of the elbow joint in ten participants, comparing the results with a consolidated resistive goniometer. Results showed high repeatability of sensors between cycles and high similarity of behavior with the potentiometer, with the advantage of being more ergonomic. The proposed sensor presented errors comparable to the literature and showed some advantages over other goniometers, such as the inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor and over other types of POF sensors. This demonstrates its applicability for joint angle evaluation.

Keywords: joint angle measurement; optical fiber sensors; wearable devices.