University of Malta
 

Foot Posture and Plantar Pressure
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Development of a System to Acquire and Visualise Foot Posture and Plantar Pressure

Lead Investigator: Mr Josef Grech
Supervisor: Dr Owen Falzon, Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics
Co-supervisors: Prof. Ing. Kenneth P. Camilleri, Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics and Dept. of Systems and Control Engineering, Faculty of Engineering 
Dr Alfred Gatt, Dept. of Podiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences 

Abstract

In podiatry, plantar pressure data is usually recorded in order to determine problematic foot conditions, but this is sometimes not sufficient for an appropriate analysis. The consideration of foot posture information can make the diagnosis more reliable but is generally not taken into account. The aim of this project was to develop a wireless mobile system that measures both plantar pressure and foot posture, and that provides a straightforward visualisation software tool for the clinician both in real-time and offline.

The first stage of developing this system consisted of choosing the appropriate sensors and testing their performance to verify that they were fit for this application. With regards to foot pressure measurement, force sensing resistors (FSRs) were chosen due to their thin structure and satisfactory accuracy. The circuitry required to interface these sensors to a microcontroller was designed. For the analysis of foot posture, a combination of gyroscopes and accelerometers were used, and the data from these two types of sensors were fused using a Kalman filter in order to obtain the angles of inclination. The figure below shows the placement of the inclination sensors at the forefoot and rear-foot areas used to obtain foot posture angles.

System_design 

The software that was developed as part of this system plots and displays the plantar pressure and foot posture measurements.  The software can be used both to display real-time data as well as pre-recorded data in offline mode. Moreover, a 3-dimensional visualisation program was designed in order to illustrate the foot’s posture and the plantar pressure. The results obtained from the designed system were compared with those obtained from the Tekscan and Vicon systems, which constitute the state-of-the-art pressure and angular measurement systems, respectively. From the readings of plantar pressure recorded from the developed system, a measurement error of mean 2.97x10-4 V and standard deviation 9.34x10-5 V was determined. The deviations in the measurements of the foot posture sensors were as negligible as 1.62° for slow movements, but somewhat significant for very fast movement, evaluating up to an error of 18.31°.

Other Links 

Research at the Dept. of Systems and Control Engineering, Faculty of Engineering [Link

Dept. of Podiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences  [Link]

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Notices
Funding Award for BrainApp

CBC awarded research funding under the FUSION Technology Development Programme (TDP) 2017

New peer-reviewed journal article

CBC publishes in Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express

CBC attends EMBC 2017

Three Papers Accepted for Presentation at the Annual Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2017)

Research at UoM: Brain Computer Interface

Communicating using brain signals

 
 
Last Updated: 29 May 2017

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