Everyone's walking style is unique, and it has been shown that both humans and computers are very good at recognizing known gait patterns. It is therefore unsurprising that dynamic foot pressure patterns, which indirectly reflect the accelerations of all body parts, are also unique, and that previous studies have achieved moderate-to-high classification rates (CRs) using foot pressure variables. However, these studies are limited by small sample sizes (n < 30), moderate CRs (CR ≃ 90%), or both. Here we show, using relatively simple image processing and feature extraction, that dynamic foot pressures can be used to identify n = 104 subjects with a CR of 99.6 per cent. Our key innovation was improved and automated spatial alignment which, by itself, improved CR to over 98 per cent, a finding that pointedly emphasizes inter-subject pressure pattern uniqueness. We also found that automated dimensionality reduction invariably improved CRs. As dynamic pressure data are immediately usable, with little or no pre-processing required, and as they may be collected discreetly during uninterrupted gait using in-floor systems, foot pressure-based identification appears to have wide potential for both the security and health industries.
- Received July 3, 2011.
- Accepted August 18, 2011.
- This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society