IMAGIMAT: polymer optical fibre sensing layer to detect deformation, gait and mobility

Patricia Scully, Jose Cantoral Ceballos, John Vaughan, Paul Wright, Tahmina Zebin, Frank Podd, Christine Brown Wilson, Christopher Todd, Emma Stanmore, Krikor Ozanyan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The iMagiMat Intelligent Carpet is a tomography-based polymer optical fibre (POF) sensor system that images the real-time deformation exerted by human footsteps on an optical fibre grid, to measure individual gait and thus the balance and mobility of an individual. Changes in POF transmission, are caused by bending individual optical fibres embedded within the carpet structure, and are detected via a periodic grid of Toray POF sensor elements of 1mm diameter (multimode, 980μm inner diameter, 10μm cladding) and imaged using an inverse tomography imaging problem solver. The current version is formed from a grid ofplastic optical fibres (POF), integrated with a carpet underlay with electronics at the periphery that relay optical signals to a computer.We report on latest developments on a 1 by 2 metre mat that accommodates several steps, and has successfully detected pressure changes, delivering video image frame rates >30 up to 300 frames per second. It is able to distinguish pressure differences of the order of 0.05psi, and records the image andgeometry, spatial location and time of each footfall, to extract gait measures that can catagorise mobility.Temporal (timing) and spatial (distance) parameters (such as gait velocity, stride length, stride width, single stance, cadence), will identify asymmetry (limping), variability (unsteadiness), compensatory strategies and adaptive gait.iMagiMat requires minimal sensor elements and connections, compared with competing technologies such as GAITRite (, enabling creation of a manageable system, connected using a modular approach for contiguous tessellation to cover a large area. The current prototype sensor mat costs about£100/m2 to build.We will present progress to date, and current “state of play”, including implementation of fast, real time“centre of mass” (CoM) calculation, related to “centre of pressure” (CoP) and “ground reaction force” (GRF),application of machine learning techniques to extract gait parameters and iMAGiMAT performance evaluatedagainst more conventional technology such as GAITrite, force plates and inertial motion sensors. We will alsoconsider other applications of the technology.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
EventPhoton16: University of Leeds, 5 - 8 September 2016. - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20168 Sept 2016


Abbreviated titlePhoton16
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • magic carpet
  • imagimat
  • optical fibre technology
  • tomography
  • intelligent carpet
  • gait
  • machine learning


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  • Electromagnetic Sensing Group

    Peyton, A., Fletcher, A., Daniels, D., Conniffe, D., Cheadle, E., Podd, F., Xu, H., Tesfalem, H., Davidson, J., Anderson, J., Tang, J., Hampton, J., Wilson, J., Barratt, K., Marsh, L., Chen, L., O'Toole, M., Lu, M., Ran, Q., Huang, R., Watson, S., Ozdeger, T., Van Verre, W., Yin, W., Gao, X., Tao, Y., Chen, Z., Regan, A., Li, J. & Cheng, Q.

    1/10/04 → …

    Project: Research

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