Real-time classification of patients with balance disorders vs. normal subjects using a low-cost small wireless wearable gait sensor

Bhargava Teja Nukala, Taro Nakano, Amanda Rodriguez, Jerry Tsay, Jerry Lopez, Tam Q. Nguyen, Steven Zupancic, Donald Y.C. Lie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Gait analysis using wearable wireless sensors can be an economical, convenient and effective way to provide diagnostic and clinical information for various health-related issues. In this work, our custom designed low-cost wireless gait analysis sensor that contains a basic inertial measurement unit (IMU) was used to collect the gait data for four patients diagnosed with balance disorders and additionally three normal subjects, each performing the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) tests while wearing the custom wireless gait analysis sensor (WGAS). The small WGAS includes a tri-axial accelerometer integrated circuit (IC), two gyroscopes ICs and a Texas Instruments (TI) MSP430 microcontroller and is worn by each subject at the T4 position during the DGI tests. The raw gait data are wirelessly transmitted from the WGAS to a near-by PC for real-time gait data collection and analysis. In order to perform successful classification of patients vs. normal subjects, we used several different classification algorithms, such as the back propagation artificial neural network (BP-ANN), support vector machine (SVM), k-nearest neighbors (KNN) and binary decision trees (BDT), based on features extracted from the raw gait data of the gyroscopes and accelerometers. When the range was used as the input feature, the overall classification accuracy obtained is 100% with BP-ANN, 98% with SVM, 96% with KNN and 94% using BDT. Similar high classification accuracy results were also achieved when the standard deviation or other values were used as input features to these classifiers. These results show that gait data collected from our very low-cost wearable wireless gait sensor can effectively differentiate patients with balance disorders from normal subjects in real time using various classifiers, the success of which may eventually lead to accurate and objective diagnosis of abnormal human gaits and their underlying etiologies in the future, as more patient data are being collected.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016


  • Artificial neural network (ANN)
  • Back propagation (BP)
  • Binary decision trees (BDT)
  • Fall detection
  • Fall prevention
  • Support vector machine (SVM)
  • k-nearest neighbors (KNN)
  • wireless gait analysis sensor (WGAS)


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