Walking Balance with Vive Trackers on the Ankles


I have been working on a platform combined with HTC Vive and pressure-sensing technologies to assess human balance in the walking paradigm.

With the two new Vive trackers, we can now track foot position and orientation. Vive base stations can track the Vive trackers, so the setup only requires two Vive trackers mounted on the outside of the ankles.

We use the HTC Vive Pro with a wireless adapter to accomplish the untethered experience. With Vive trackers attached to the ankles, the system can track the participants’ feet and detect if the feet collide with the virtual obstacles. Human foot graphic models in VR represent participants’ feet. Thus, the participants will see that the foot models substitute their own feet. Their virtual feet help them connect the worlds of physical and virtual, and also help them get a better understanding of the proper height when they cross over the virtual obstacles.

In the experiments, all the obstacles are generated with a selected height at the start of the scene. Participants can have enough time to plan the obstacle negotiation strategy. In the unanticipated obstacles experiments, all the obstacles are generated at random times. Participants have constrained time to respond to the suddenly appeared obstacles by adapting immediately to a new strategy and executing it to avoid tripping over and maintain a balanced gait pattern.

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