Some of the most common human activities are actually rather complex. Take walking, for example. It is a “repetitive process that requires the coordination of the lower limbs to move forward and maintain body balance with one foot in contact with the ground at all times.”
Darwin Gouwanda and Arosha Senananayake are two engineers from Monash University in Malaysia who developed an application that analyzes stride, stance phase, and swing phase – things that occur between the heel-strike to another heel-strike of the same foot (otherwise known as a gait cycle). Acute injury to one of the limbs can disrupt this process and cause abnormal gait. Significant differences between normal and abnormal gait can be found in the duration of a stride, stance phase, and swing phase. To quantify these parameters and study a person's gait, they developed a wireless gyroscope-based gait monitoring system to help them diagnose and track the rehabilitation progress of patients.
The gait monitoring system measures the angular rates of the lower limbs, and identifies and quantifies gait cycles. They used LabVIEW to develop a user-friendly GUI and collect simultaneous real-time data streaming from two wireless gyroscopes, which is in turn sent to a workstation. Using the LabVIEW Advanced Signal Processing Toolkit shortened the development time and reduced the tedious programming work because it offers comprehensive signal processing tools and algorithms.
Just another example of how engineers use NI tools to improve everyday life.