Closing the Wearable Gap: Mobile Systems for Kinematic Signal Monitoring of the Foot and Ankle
Luczak, T., Saucier, D., Burch V, R. F., Ball, J. E., Chander, H., Knight, A., Wei, P., & Iftekhar, T. (2018). Closing the Wearable Gap: Mobile Systems for Kinematic Signal Monitoring of the Foot and Ankle. Electronics. MDPI. 7(7), 117. DOI:10.3390/electronics7070117.
Interviews from strength and conditioning coaches across all levels of athletic competition identified their two biggest concerns with the current state of wearable technology: (a) the lack of solutions that accurately capture data “from the ground up” and (b) the lack of trust due to inconsistent measurements. The purpose of this research is to investigate the use of liquid metal sensors, specifically Liquid Wire sensors, as a potential solution for accurately capturing ankle complex movements such as plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion. Sensor stretch linearity was validated using a Micro-Ohm Meter and a Wheatstone bridge circuit. Sensors made from different substrates were also tested and discovered to be linear at multiple temperatures. An ankle complex model and computing unit for measuring resistance values were developed to determine sensor output based on simulated plantar flexion movement. The sensors were found to have a significant relationship between the positional change and the resistance values for plantar flexion movement. The results of the study ultimately confirm the researchers’ hypothesis that liquid metal sensors, and Liquid Wire sensors specifically, can serve as a mitigating substitute for inertial measurement unit (IMU) based solutions that attempt to capture specific joint angles and movements.