Nearly one million people in 2009 were discharged from the hospital with stroke as the primary diagnosis [1]. One of the many lasting side effects of a stroke can be foot drop, or an inability to dorsiflex the foot. In order to remedy this, many people wear an ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) post-stroke. Interviews with AFO users revealed that they frequently have difficulty walking on stairs and ramps, because the AFO limits the plantarflexion that is natural in navigating those ground types. An active AFO that adapts to changing ground terrain would provide a more natural gait pattern for these individuals, if it could be designed to respond appropriately to upcoming terrain. In order to respond to terrain, the device must first identify the terrain.

This paper outlines a system [2] that simultaneously predicts the type of terrain a user is approaching as they walk, and captures information about that user’s walking activity. Such a system can be used as the control system for an active orthotic or prosthetic device. Additionally, this system can be used as a stand-alone gait and terrain monitor to aid in rehabilitation monitoring in between patient visits with a clinician.

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