Reliable estimation of desired motion trajectories plays a crucial part in the continuous control of lower extremity assistance devices such as prostheses and orthoses. Moreover, reliable estimation methods are also required to predict hard-to-measure biomechanical quantities (e.g., joint contact moment/force) for use in sports injury science. Recognising that human locomotion is an inherently time-sequential and limb-synergetic behaviour, this study investigates models and learning algorithms for predicting the motion of a subject’s leg from the motion of complementary limbs. The novel deep learning model architectures proposed are based on the Long Short-Term Memory approach with the addition of an attention mechanism. A dataset comprising Inertial Measurement Unit signals from 21 subjects traversing varied terrains was used, including stair ascent/descent, ramp ascent/descent, stopped, level-ground walking and the transitions between these conditions. Fourier Analysis is deployed to evaluate the model robustness, in addition to assessing time-based prediction errors. The experiment on three unseen test participants suggests that the branched neural network structure is preferred to tackle the multioutput problem, and the inclusion of an attention mechanism demonstrates improved performance in terms of accuracy, robustness and network size. An experimental comparison found that 57% of the model parameters were not needed after adding attention layers meanwhile the prediction error is lower than the LSTM model without attention mechanism. The attention model has errors of 9.06% and 7.64% (normalised root mean square error) for ankle and hip acceleration prediction respectively. Also, less high-frequency noise is present in the attention model predictions. We conclude that the internal structure of the proposed deep learning model is justified, principally the benefit of using an attention mechanism. Experimental results for biomechanical motion estimation are obtained, showing greater accuracy than only with LSTM. The trained attention model can be used throughout despite transitioning between terrain types. Such a model will be useful in, for example, the control of lower-limb prostheses, instead of the need to identify and switch between different trajectory generators for different walking modes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1021505
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2022


  • deep learning
  • attention mechanism
  • gait analysis
  • seamless transition
  • varied terrains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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