For these experiments, a biomechanics class of 20 DPT students volunteered to conduct their own tests on multiple factors that affect gait parameters such as stride length and sway. Dividing themselves into 3 groups of 10, the students used 3 different test scenarios: Asymmetrical Load, Unilateral and Bilateral Load, and Visual Speed.

Asymmetrical Load

In the Asymmetrical Load test, students walked on the treadmill either normally (without a load) or with a load (weight of load constituted 10% of body weight). Using motion capture data, the students evaluated what effect carrying a load had on gait patterns and parameters.

Unilateral and Bilateral (backpack on) (10% body weight)

In the Unilateral-Bilateral test, students used a load with two straps in order to test how placing stresses on the body affects gait parameters. In this particular experiment, the subject either walked normally (no load), with a backpack strapped onto one arm, or a backpack strapped onto two arms.

Visual Speed

In the Visual Speed test, students tested walking on the treadmill while the environment on the screen moved forward, backward, or remained static. They then observed how the animation on the screen affected an individual’s gait.