Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2022 Aug 1;93(8):643-648. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5961.2022.
INTRODUCTION: Heel-lift is a subjectively reported fit issue in planetary spacesuit boot prototypes that has not yet been quantified. Inertial measurement units (IMUs) could quantify heel-lift but are susceptible to integration drift. This work evaluates the use of IMUs and drift-correction algorithms, such as zero-velocity (ZVUs) and zero-position updates (ZPUs), to quantify heel-lift during spacesuited gait.METHODS: Data was originally collected by Fineman et al. in 2018 to assess lower body relative coordination in the spacesuit. IMUs were mounted on the spacesuit lower legs (SLLs) and spacesuit operator’s shank as three operators walked on a level walkway in three spacesuit padding conditions. Discrete wavelet transforms were used to identify foot-flat phase and heel-off for each step. Differences in heel-off timepoints were calculated in each step as a potential indicator of heel-lift, with spacesuit-delayed heel-off suggesting heel-lift. Average drift rates were estimated prior to and after applying ZVUs and ZPUs.RESULTS: Heel-off timepoint differences showed instances of spacesuit-delayed heel-off and instances of operator-delayed heel-off. Drift rates after applying ZVUs and ZPUs suggested an upper time bound of 0.03 s past heel-off to measure heel-lift magnitude with an accuracy of 1 cm.DISCUSSION: Results suggest that IMUs may not be appropriate for quantifying the presence and magnitude of heel lift. Operator-delayed heel-off suggests that the SLL may be expanding prior to heel-off, creating a false vertical acceleration signal interpreted by this study to be spacesuit heel-off. Quantifying heel-off will therefore require improvements in IMU mounting to mitigate the effects of SLL, or alternative sensor technologies.Boppana A, Priddy ST, Stirling L, Anderson AP. Challenges in quantifying heel-lift during spacesuit gait. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2022; 93(8):643-648.