With age, gait functions reflected in the walking patterns degenerate and threaten the balance control mechanisms of the locomotor system. The aim of this paper is to explore applications of artificial neural networks for automated recognition of gait changes due to ageing from their respective gait-pattern characteristics. The ability of such discrimination has many advantages including the identification of at-risk or faulty gait. Various gait features (e.g., temporal-spatial, footground reaction forces and lower limb joint angular data) were extracted from 12 young and 12 elderly participants during normal walking and these were utilized for training and testing on three neural network algorithms (Standard Backpropagation; Scaled Conjugate Gradient; and Backpropagation with Bayesian Regularization, BR). Receiver operating characteristics plots, sensitivity and specificity results as well as accuracy rates were used to evaluate performance of the three classifiers. Cross-validation test results indicate a maximum generalization performance of 83.3% in the recognition of the young and elderly gait patterns. Out of the three neural network algorithms, BR performed superiorly in the test results with best sensitivity, selectivity and detection rates. With the help of a feature selection technique, the maximum classification accuracy of the BR attained 100%, when trained with a small subset of selected gait features. The results of this study demonstrate the capability of neural networks in the detection of gait changes with ageing and their potentials for future applications as gait diagnostics.
In order for video replay to be an effective assessment and teaching tool, a number of steps need to be followed. This article provides some useful tips for physical educators to ensure they are implementing this video technology effectively when teaching the overarm throw.