Combining Accelerometer and GPS Features to Evaluate Community Mobility in Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses (KAFO) Users

Luca Lonini, Nicholas Shawen, Shenan Hoppe-Ludwig, Susan Deems-Dluhy, Chaithanya K. Mummidisetty, Yochai Eisenberg, Arun Jayaraman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orthotic and assistive devices such as knee ankle foot orthoses (KAFO), come in a variety of forms and fits, with several levels of available features that could help users perform daily activities more naturally. However, objective data on the actual use of these devices outside of the research lab is usually not obtained. Such data could enhance traditional lab-based outcome measures and inform clinical decision-making when prescribing new orthotic and assistive technology. Here, we link data from a GPS unit and an accelerometer mounted on the orthotic device to quantify its usage in the community and examine the correlations with clinical metrics. We collected data from 14 individuals over a period of 2 months as they used their personal KAFO first, and then a novel research KAFO; for each device we quantified number of steps, cadence, time spent at community locations and time wearing the KAFO at those locations. Sensor-derived metrics showed that mobility patterns differed widely between participants (mean steps: 591.3, SD =704.2). The novel KAFO generally enabled participants to walk faster during clinical tests ( Δ 6 Minute-Walk-Test=71.5m, p=0.006). However, some participants wore the novel device less often despite improved performance on these clinical measures, leading to poor correlation between changes in clinical outcome measures and changes in community mobility ( Δ 6 Minute-Walk-Test - Δ Community Steps: r=0.09, p=0.76). Our results suggest that some traditional clinical outcome measures may not be associated with the actual wear time of an assistive device in the community, and obtaining personalized data from real-world use through wearable technology is valuable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9481137
Pages (from-to)1386-1393
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
StatePublished - 2021


  • GPS
  • Wearable sensor
  • accelerometer
  • assistive device
  • orthosis
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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