ShoeMote: Shoe-based Monitoring of Gait & Mobility

Gait assessment techniques for post-operative and mobility-impaired patients generally involve the use of expensive clinic-based assessment technologies, utilising a range of gait analysis hardware (e.g. motion capture suites, force plates and pressure mats). The aim of ShoeMOTE was to develop a shoe-based mobility assessment system. The design incorporated pressure piezoelectric pressure and bend sensors, accelerometers, and zigbee-mediated wireless communication between a mote-based device embedded into the heel of a regular shoe and a base station that collected sensor data as the user walked around their everyday environment (see photograph). We proposed ShoeMOTEs as a means of assessing the rehabilitation of sufferers of mobility-impairing conditions in their natural environment (where their performance is most relevant) as they go about their everyday lives. Our hypothesis was that ability to collect data over such periods of time remotely, without having to visit the patient, could significantly impact on the fidelity of assessments of rehabilitation regimes and greatly reduce the load on existing centers for assessment.