The stumblemeter: Design and validation of a system that detects and classifies stumbles during gait

Dylan Den Hartog, Jaap Harlaar*, Gerwin Smit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Stumbling during gait is commonly encountered in patients who suffer from mild to serious walking problems, e.g., after stroke, in osteoarthritis, or amputees using a lower leg prosthesis. Instead of self-reporting, an objective assessment of the number of stumbles in daily life would inform clinicians more accurately and enable the evaluation of treatments that aim to achieve a safer walking pattern. An easy-to-use wearable might fulfill this need. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether a single inertial measurement unit (IMU) placed at the shank and machine learning algorithms could be used to detect and classify stumbling events in a dataset comprising of a wide variety of daily movements. Ten healthy test subjects were deliberately tripped by an unexpected and unseen obstacle while walking on a treadmill. The subjects stumbled a total of 276 times, both using an elevating recovery strategy and a lowering recovery strategy. Subjects also performed multiple Activities of Daily Living. During data processing, an event-defined window segmentation technique was used to trace high peaks in acceleration that could potentially be stumbles. In the reduced dataset, time windows were labelled with the aid of video annotation. Subsequently, discriminative features were extracted and fed to train seven different types of machine learning algorithms. Trained machine learning algorithms were validated using leave-one-subject-out cross-validation. Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithms were most successful, and could detect and classify stumbles with 100% sensitivity, 100% specificity, and 96.7% accuracy in the independent testing dataset. The SVM algorithms were implemented in a user-friendly, freely avail-able, stumble detection app named Stumblemeter. This work shows that stumble detection and classification based on SVM is accurate and ready to apply in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6636
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was financially funded by Delft University of Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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