Title:
Gait training system using motion analysis
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gait training system using motion analysis is provided to perform consecutive motion analysis while a person to be measured is walking on a treadmill. The gait training system includes a treadmill including a belt rotatable by a roller of which a rotating rate is adjustable in response to a walking speed of a walker; and measuring means for transferring signals associated with a movement of a body of the walker. The measuring means are attached to the body. A control unit analyzes a walking movement based on a data from the measuring means, and a display unit displays the data to the walker.



Inventors:
Lee, Yang-soo (Daegu, KR)
Jung, Soon-ki (Daegu, KR)
Application Number:
11/807062
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/25/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TECCO, ANDREW M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENTS+TMS, P.C. (2849 W. ARMITAGE AVE., CHICAGO, IL, 60647, US)
Claims:
1. A gait training system, the system comprising: a treadmill having a belt rotatable by a roller wherein a rotating rate of the roller is adjustable in response to a walking speed of a walker; measuring means for transferring signals associated with a movement of a body of the walker wherein the measuring means is attached to the body; a control unit for analyzing a walking movement of the walker based on a data from the measuring means; and a display unit for displaying the data to the walker.

2. The gait training system of claim 1 further comprising: a marker attached to a lower limb of the walker wherein the marker captures a motion and further wherein the measuring means has a camera arranged adjacent to the treadmill wherein the camera locates the marker wherein the camera detects a walking movement of the walker on the treadmill.

3. The gait training system of claim 1 further comprising: an electric goniometer: wherein the electric goniometer has a flexible bar for bending in response to a bending of a lower limb joint of the walker and further wherein the electric goniometer has an attachment support for securing the flexible bar to a lower limb of the walker.

4. The gait training system of claim 1 further comprising: a goniometer: wherein the goniometer has a variable resistor with a resistance value that varies according to an angle of a joint and further wherein the goniometer has an attachment support for securing the variable resistor to a lower limb of the walker.

5. The gait training system of claim 1 further comprising: a sensor arranged in a position lateral to the belt wherein the sensor has piezoelectric devices arranged with a gap on an upper surface of the sensor.

6. The gait training system of claim 5 wherein the sensor: has a first sensor arranged in a front portion of the treadmill wherein the first sensor detects an accelerated movement and a relocation of the walker and further wherein the sensor has a second sensor arranged in a rear portion of the treadmill wherein the second sensor detects a decelerated movement and the relocation of the walker.

7. The gait training system of claim 1 further comprising: a pair of piezoelectric plates arranged in a bottom surface of the treadmill wherein the piezoelectric plates measure a time that a lower limb of the walker touches the bottom surface of the treadmill.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gait training system using motion analysis, designed to perform consecutive motion analysis while a person to be measured is walking on a treadmill.

2. Description of the Related Art

Walking is a most efficient way to move that humans most frequently use. To treat those having difficulty in walking, motion analysis is an essential prerequisite.

The motion analysis is carried out for the study of the movements of several body portions by using kinematic data, kinetic data and dynamic electromyography (EMG) data. To date, it has been a substantially unique motion analysis method that a doctor repeatedly examines with bare eyes walking behaviors of a musculo-skeletal patient. However, this method is impossible to objectively clarify various factors that might cause abnormal gait and changes in the abnormal gait. Accordingly, a motion analysis system with most advanced electronic and computer technologies integrated thereto has been demanded in order to acquire objective information associated with abnormal gait and thus enable correct treatment. Up to present, many hospitals and laboratories worldwide related with rehabilitation medicine, orthopedic medicine, sports medicine, industrial medicine and the like have been introducing and actively utilizing such systems. In addition, such systems are likely to spread more.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a conventional motion analysis system.

The conventional motion analysis system includes an infrared strobe, video cameras 101 to 103, a pressure sensing plate 111, other sensors attached to joints of a patient by which the movements of the joints can be detected, data analysis software and so on.

The motion analysis system can analyze the gait of the patient in a photographing area of the cameras, in particular, at one point. However, as a basic problem, this system cannot be applied to a gait training process which needs to analyze and feed back walking behaviors of a user in real-time to correct the gait. In addition, a large amount of data is required to analyze gait information since gait is not performed at specific locations. A large amount of time is also necessary to process such data.

Furthermore, since a motion analysis performed at one point does not ensure data reliability, a patient is required to walk repeatedly. This, however, results in problems such as a prolonged time period for the motion analysis, accumulated fatigue of the patient and a large measuring space.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been made to solve the foregoing problems of the prior art and therefore an object of certain embodiments of the present invention is to provide a gait training system capable of measuring joint angle data of a patient in real-time and feeding the data back to the patient while the patient is walking, thereby enabling a gait training.

Another object of the invention is to provide a gait training system capable of using a treadmill with a rotating rate adjustable in response to a walking rate so that a patient can repeatedly walk at the same location in order to repeatedly analyze walking behaviors. This system can also feed gait data back in real-time to the patient so that the patient can perform training according to the motion analysis.

Further another object of the invention is to provide a gait training system of a relatively simple design, which can be installed in a relatively limited room, shorten a walking time of a patient, and afford real-time input data of motion analysis to the patient to perform gait training.

According to an aspect of the invention for realizing the object, the invention provides a gait training system. The gait training system includes a treadmill including a belt rotatable by a roller of which a rotating rate is adjustable in response to a walking speed of a walker; measuring means for transferring signals associated with a movement of a body of the walker, the measuring means attached to the body; a control unit for analyzing a walking movement based on a data from the measuring means; and a display unit for displaying the data to the walker.

Preferably, the measuring means may include at least one marker attached to a lower limb of the walker, the marker capable of capturing a motion; and a camera arranged adjacent to the treadmill to locate the marker in order to detect a walking movement of the walker on the treadmill. Alternatively, the measuring means may comprise an electric goniometer including a flexible bar capable of bending in response to a bending of a lower limb joint of the walker; and an attachment support for securing the flexible bar to a lower limb of the walker. As a further alternative, the measuring means may comprise a goniometer including a variable resistor with a resistance value varying according to an angle of a joint; and an attachment support for securing the variable resistor to a lower limb of the walker.

Preferably, the treadmill may include at least one sensor arranged laterally of the belt, the sensor having piezoelectric devices arranged with a gap on an upper surface thereof. Here, the sensor may include a first sensor arranged in a front portion of the treadmill to detect an accelerated movement and a relocation of the walker; and a second sensor arranged in a rear portion of the treadmill to detect a decelerated movement and a relocation of the walker. Preferably, the treadmill may include a pair of piezoelectric plates arranged in a bottom surface thereof, which lower limbs of the walker touch, to measure a time that one of the lower limbs of the walker touches the bottom surface of the treadmill.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and other advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a gait training system using motion analysis according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating another embodiment of the treadmill shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating further another embodiment of the treadmill shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating another embodiment of the measuring means shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating further another embodiment of the measuring means shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a graph illustrating an example of movement analysis according to the invention; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a conventional motion analysis system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a gait training system using motion analysis according to the invention.

The gait training system of the invention includes a treadmill 10. The treadmill 10 includes a belt 11 being rotated by rollers (not shown). The treadmill 10 rotates the rollers (or one of the rollers) to move the belt, on which a user can walk as if on the ground. As one technical feature of the invention, the gait training system of the invention is constructed so that a user can consecutively walk at one point on the treadmill 10.

FIG. 2 illustrates sensor units installed in the treadmill of the invention. As the walker accelerates walking, he/she moves forward on the treadmill. Then, at least one of piezoelectric devices installed under the belt detects the acceleration and sends a detection signal to the drive motor. In response to the detection signal, the motor accelerates its rotating rate to drive the belt faster. For this function, the piezoelectric devices are arranged with a gap, constructing a first sensor unit 41. In this fashion, the first sensor unit 41 is installed in a front portion of the treadmill to detect any acceleration of the walker.

On the contrary, a plurality of piezoelectric devices are arranged in a rear portion of the treadmill, constructing a second sensor unit 42. The second or rear sensor unit 42 detects a foot of the walker treading on any of the piezoelectric devices and sends a detection signal so that the drive motor can decelerate rotation. Thus, the second sensor unit 42 is configured to detect the deceleration of the walker. In addition to detection on the acceleration or the deceleration of the walker, the first and second sensor units 41 and 42 can detect a relocation of the walker.

Referring to FIG. 3, relatively large piezoelectric plates 61 are installed in right and left parts of the treadmill, on which the walker or patient treads, in order to detect a time that the lower limbs of the patient touch the treadmill. In this case, the piezoelectric plates 61 are arranged between the acceleration sensor unit (i.e., the first sensor unit 41) and the deceleration sensor unit (e.g., the second sensor unit 42) under the belt, in areas on which the right and left lower limbs of the patient tread, respectively. The piezoelectric devices may detect the level of a treading pressure by the patient to measure the weight loaded on the lower limb. Furthermore, by measuring the time that the lower limbs touch the treadmill, it is possible to examine the patient hobbling with the weight biased to one limb.

As an alternative, markers may be attached to one leg and edges 31 of supports of the treadmill and then the locations of the markers can be compared. FIG. 2 shows the treadmill with the markers attached thereto. When the markers 50 attached to the patient's leg move forward of the markers 51 attached to the support edges 31 of the treadmill, a control is made to accelerate the treadmill. In a reverse case, a control will be made to decelerate the treadmill. The markers 51 may be attached to the treadmill by plural numbers, and one of the markers 51 most adjacent to an initial location of the markers 50 attached to the patient's leg may act as a location reference for the detection of acceleration and deceleration.

The invention provides such a treadmill with the rotating rate adjusted in response to the walking rate. However, such a method of adjusting the rotating rate of the treadmill as described above is merely an example but not intended to limit the invention.

The gait training system of the invention also includes measuring means attached to the body of the patient walking on the treadmill, by which signals associated with movements of the body can be sent to a controller. As in FIGS. 1 to 3, the invention adopts the markers 50 as the signing means to capture a motion or movement by using external cameras.

The markers 50 can be attached to a joint and surrounding portions above and below the joint. With the markers 50, it is possible to determine the angle and the location of the joint which vary in accordance with the movement of the lower limb. That is, by locating the markers 50 attached to the lower limb with the cameras, it is possible to measure the angle and the position of the joint varying according to the movement of the lower limb in walking. The positions of the markers may be varied according to regions to be measured such as knee, ankle and hip joints. For example, the markers are attached to the knee joint and thigh and calf portions above and below the knee joint when the knee joint is to be measured, and to the ankle joint and foot and calf potions above and below the ankle joint when the ankle joint is to be measured. In case of hip joint measurement, the markers are attached to the hip joint and shoulders and thigh portions above and below the hip joint. The markers 50 are preferably attached in positions opposing the camera 20 so that the camera 20 can detect the markers 50.

In this disclosure, the cameras 20 and 21 are used as the photographing means. Each of the cameras 20 and 21 includes a sensor such as an infrared ray sensor, and is installed adjacent to the treadmill 10 to detect the movement of the walker walking on the treadmill. The cameras 20 and 21 may be provided by one or more, and the position and number of the cameras may be varied according to environments and conditions of a patient.

In the invention, electric goniometers 71 may be used as the measuring means for transferring signals associated with body movements of the walker on the treadmill. As shown in FIG. 4, each of the electric goniometers 72 includes a flexible bar 72 and attachment supports 73. The flexible bar 72 is made of a flexible material to bend along with a joint, and the attachment supports 73 are connected to a portion of a lower limb and the flexible bar 72 so that the flexible bar 72 can bend along with the joint. The attachment supports 73 of the electric goniometer 71 are attached to upper and lower portions of a joint to be measured, and connected to the flexible bar 72 positioned in the side of the joint to be measured.

FIG. 5 illustrates goniometers 81 each having a variable resistor, which can be adopted as the measuring means. Referring to FIG. 5, each of the goniometers 81 includes a variable resistor 82 with its resistance varying according to the angle of a joint and attachment supports 83 for attaching the variable resistor to a lower limb. Likewise the attachment supports 73 of the electric goniometer 71, the attachment supports 83 are placed in portions above and below the joint. The variable resistor 82 of the goniometer 81 has a resistance-adjusting portion configured to move along with the joint so that the resistance of the variable resistor 82 is varied with the angle of the joint changing. Thus, the angle of the joint can be measured based on the resistance value varying according to the angle of the joint.

Outside cameras may be excluded in a case where the electric goniometer or the goniometer having a variable resistor is used as in FIG. 4 or 5. In case of receiving gait data from the photographing means or from the electric goniometer or the goniometer having a variable resistor, the control unit can compare the data with data of normal gait to determine gait abnormality. The control unit can also display the gait data to a walker to appreciate his/her gait abnormality, and thereby the walker can have a train to correct the abnormal gait by him/herself. For this purpose, the control unit may also include a display unit 70 installed in front of the walker to display the gait data in diagrams or graphs to the walker.

FIG. 6 is a graph illustrating an example of movement analysis according to the invention. Referring to FIG. 6, locations of an abnormal knee joint measured from markers attached thereto are displayed on a screen to be compared with locations of a normal knee joint. In this fashion, abnormal values can be displayed in real-time together with normal values so that a walker can take a gait training on a treadmill attempting to conform his/her gait to the normal gait.

The gait training system of the invention provides a treadmill on which a user can walk, and while the user is walking on the treadmill, consecutively performs motion analysis on the user and then provides the motion analysis result to the user in real-time in order to induce the user toward a normal gait.

Furthermore, it is possible to provide a system having motion analysis and training functions. This system can perform motion analysis in a shorter time, even in a relatively limited room, and afford gait training to a user.

While the present invention has been described with reference to the particular illustrative embodiments and the accompanying drawings, it is not to be limited thereto but will be defined by the appended claims. It is to be appreciated that those skilled in the art can substitute, change or modify the embodiments into various forms without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.