Expanding instrumented gait testing in the community setting: A portable, depth-sensing camera captures joint motion in older adults

PLoS One. 2019 May 15;14(5):e0215995. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215995. eCollection 2019.


Background: Currently, it is not feasible to obtain laboratory-based measures of joint motion in large numbers of older adults. We assessed the utility of a portable depth-sensing camera for quantifying hip and knee joint motion of older adults during mobility testing in the community.

Methods: Participants were 52 older adults enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a community-based cohort study of aging. In a subset, we compared dynamic hip and knee flexion/extension obtained via the depth-sensing camera with that obtained concurrently using a laboratory-based optoelectronic motion capture system. Then we recorded participants' annual instrumented gait assessment in the community setting with the depth-sensing camera and examined the inter-relationships of hip and knee range of motion (ROM) with mobility metrics derived from a wearable sensor and other mobility-related health measures.

Results: In the community, we successfully acquired joint motion from 49/52 participants using the depth-sensing camera. Hip and knee ROMs were related to diverse sensor-derived metrics of mobility performance (hip: Pearson's r = 0.31 to 0.58; knee: Pearson's r = 0.29 to 0.51), as well as daily physical activity, conventional motor measures, self-report hip and knee pain and dysfunction, mobility disability, and falls.

Conclusions: The depth-sensing camera's high rate of successful data acquisition and correlations of its hip and knee ROMs with other mobility measures suggest that this device can provide a cost-efficient means of quantifying joint motion in large numbers of community-dwelling older adults who span the health spectrum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*