D3.3 Gait Speed Measurement

Principal Investigators

Brian Jones, MSEE; Theodore Johnson, MD, MPH


This project builds off of our earlier TechSAge research where we investigated options for measuring walking speed, which can be used as a proxy for physical function and often serves as an indicator of fall risk and health related decline. We developed tools to help us test if and how health and rehabilitation professionals would measure walking speed in their everyday work. These tools included: an iPhone app (GaitRate), a permanent wall-mount system, and a portable system, all designed for measuring walking speed over a short-distance of around 3 to 5 meters. We tested these tools with various healthcare professionals and learned that the wall-mount device was preferred for clinic and office settings, while an app might better serve visiting physical therapists and nurses in the home setting.

The GaitRate Wall-Mount System was recently patented (US11624755B2) and has been installed in a few clinic settings to further understand what challenges arise with everyday use of the device and staff recommendations to promote successful integration (e.g. staff training, reducing interruptions in measurements as to not disrupt workflow). The solution consists of a bi-directional system with a screen and control button on either end of a 6-meter course. Two sensor boxes are located on either end of the 4-meter timed zone to provide the speed measurement. The user instructs the subject to walk to the other control button at their normal walking speed, then presses the control button on one end and tells them to go. Sensors activate on the button press and trigger as the subject walks past. The system then ends the measurement and returns the results on both screens, allowing the user to write down the speed result in meters per second. For more information: www.gaitspeed.org  

female testing male gait speed at clinical office gait speed app screenshot hallway at clinic


Project Status

  • We are currently seeking input from various stakeholders who would be interested in evaluating the wall-mount system for collecting gait speed measurements in the clinic setting or for use in rehab research, in the hopes of gaining more feedback on the system. 
  • We are also beginning to reach out to insurers (payors) to advocate for gait speed measurement and understand the barriers to reimbursement for gait speed measurement in the clinic setting. 
  • The website (http://www.gaitspeed.org) provides further information on the gaitspeed app and wall mount system. 
  • The iOS GaitRate App is now available on the Apple AppStore for use by healthcare providers: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/gaitrate/id1458165883 
Screenshot of GaitRate App in Apple App Store
  • Learn about the GaitRate App and GaitRate wall-mounted clinic system. Poster presented at the 2022 TechSAge State of the Science Conference.
Screenshot of Gait Speed project poster



Vandenberg, A. E., Jones, B. D. Nadel, L. & Johnson, T. M. (2018) Hands-free, non-wearable technology for outpatient clinic gait speed assessment. Journal of American Geriatric Society (JAGS)10.1111/jgs.15572

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