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iPhone App Prototype for Diagnosing and Training Walking and Posture Through Real-Time Monitoring of Foot Function
Our feet interface between our bodies and the earth. The effectiveness of our standing and movement tactics and the amount of wear and tear these tactics put on our structure tightly correlate with the competency of our feet. If foot function is optimal, wear is minimized, and our regenerative, healing faculties are maximized. The proficiency of our feet directly influences our experience of our capabilities and how much power we express both in standing and moving.
It is possible to improve the functionality of the feet, and through doing so, even alter structural issues (e.g., Bunions). However, retraining how we stand and walk requires focused effort over time. In this age of the phone App, it is possible to build a sensor platform for feedback on the efficacy of one’s stance and gait to aid in retraining. As you gain proficiency, it becomes easier to refocus to optimal foot use because, if the operational parameters degrade, it is quite noticeable – not only in the feet but globally in our structure.
Feedback on optimizing stance and gait requires defining what optimal function is. Optimization (in the context of this model) is characterized in individual sections on STANCE, GAIT, and TURNING. Additionally, the sections on the ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF FEET, the CORE and the TENSEGRITY FOOT MODEL illustrate related biomechanics.
Using the tool described below leads to improvement in how well our feet work. Because the feet support our entire structure, the App will promote improvements in both posture and most types of standing movement (core movement). Revitalization of global Physiology, Neurology and an increase in average life expectancy are anticipated (many of the degenerative issues encountered in aging stem from inefficient standing and movement tactics).
BIOMETRIC FOOT FUNCTION PROJECT OUTLINE:
This project has two primary components, Insole and App:
INSOLE: Bluetooth enabled Insoles consisting of 6 pressure sensors each, which send readings to the phone 10X per second. The position of the sensors is the key attribute which enables accurate monitoring of response relative to the optimized foot function model mentioned above. The prototype has the microcontroller and power supply (Adafruit 32u4 Bluefruit) on a pigtail, however, a production version would embed these in the arch of an insole, or into the structure of footwear.
APP: The incoming data is first smoothed and then processed contextually based on the selected mode (Stance or Gait). Relative changes in these pressure readings over time are interpreted by the algorithm of the selected mode. Results appear both as immediate feedback suggesting corrections and as a score to incentivize the user. There is a slider for setting the level of difficulty of feedback. It is envisioned that in a completed App the related training and supporting materials on this website could be embedded contextually.
POTENTIAL DIRECTIONS FOR THIS PROJECT:
TURNING is a more complex project requiring a more challenging algorithm, which if enabled, could also be embedded.
APPLE WATCH: The arm is also used in gait, and integration with the Apple Watch, both for haptic feedback, and to access the accelerometer is considered to be a beneficial addition (the phone accelerometer does not have the required spatial reference to be usable – you don’t know where it is). The accelerometer could sense arm swing in gait, movement up/downstairs and turning – adding significant contextual data to, and new options for analysis, and possibly even eliminating the need for mode selection.
DIAGNOSTIC AND THERAPEUTIC TOOL: Compensations in how we use our feet tightly correlate with the Evolutionary Paradigms presented on this website. The App works both as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool in this context. It is interesting to imagine that the therapeutic frameworks of the Dimensional Mastery Model could be accessed by simply walking around for a bit.
Discussion of projects relating to optimizing Stance and Gait
TRAINING AND RESEARCH INNOVATIONS
An overview of foot structural and functional issues and means to optimize how we use our feet: