Whole body center of mass estimation with portable sensors: Using the statically equivalent serial chain and a kinect

Alejandro González, Mitsuhiro Hayashibe, Vincent Bonnet, Philippe Fraisse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The trajectory of the whole body center of mass (CoM) is useful as a reliable metric of postural stability. If the evaluation of a subject-specific CoM were available outside of the laboratory environment, it would improve the assessment of the effects of physical rehabilitation. This paper develops a method that enables tracking CoM position using low-cost sensors that can be moved around by a therapist or easily installed inside a patient’s home. Here, we compare the accuracy of a personalized CoM estimation using the statically equivalent serial chain (SESC) method and measurements obtained with the Kinect to the case of a SESC obtained with high-end equipment (Vicon). We also compare these estimates to literature-based ones for both sensors. The method was validated with seven able-bodied volunteers for whom the SESC was identified using 40 static postures. The literature-based estimation with Vicon measurements had a average error 24.9 ± 3.7 mm; this error was reduced to 12.8 ± 9.1 mm with the SESC identification. When using Kinect measurements, the literature-based estimate had an error of 118.4 ± 50.0 mm, while the SESC error was 26.6 ± 6.0 mm. The subject-specific SESC estimate using low-cost sensors has an equivalent performance as the literature-based one with high-end sensors. The SESC method can improve CoM estimation of elderly and neurologically impaired subjects by considering variations in their mass distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16955-16971
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept 11


  • Center of mass (CoM)
  • Identification
  • Kinect
  • Statically equivalent serial chain (SESC)
  • Subject-specificity


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