View Full Version : Summary of replies to gait lab query

10-28-2008, 04:44 AM
Thanks to all who replied, I received a large number of responses, and
it was very useful to hear everyone's experience. I am also grateful
for the messages of support and invitations to visit. My original post
follows, the summary is underneath.

"We will be building a new gait analysis lab and are at the point of
instructing the architects to design the new building. I wondered
whether any list members have any strong opinions based on their
experiences of minimum dimensions and ideal layout for such a
laboratory. We want to analyse both running and walking and the
laboratory will be used specifically for gait analysis. I would be
grateful if any suggestions could be e-mailed to me (sbw@aber.ac.uk) and
I will post a summary of replies as appropriate."

Many commercial companies helpfully said that they could equip
laboratories of any size. The consensus from people working in gait
laboratories was that the room should be as long as possible. Some
institutions had added length by the strategic placement of fire doors,
entry doors and corridors to allow additional areas for acceleration and
deceleration. A minimum height of 3m was suggested, with many
preferring 4 to 5m.

Some example dimensions are as follows.
46m x 17m - lab used for animal and human gait, including galloping
horses (Royal Veterinary College, UK)
40m x 10 m - though 10m not felt to be wide enough, 12m would be better,
force plates mounted 25-30m from start of run up (University of South
40m long to allow for sprinting (Marg Perott)
17m x 10m (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
17m x 12m - felt to be large enough (University of Worcester, UK)
21m x 7m - felt to be large enough (University of Salford, UK)
Minimum 10m long walkway (Clinical Movement Analysis Society of UK and
Ireland standard)

Layout: Some correspondents commented that they found an alcove or
separate room useful for hubs and control computers to reduce spurious

Floor: Several correspondents said it was important to reiterate to
architects and builders that the floor should be levelled properly and
have a non-reflective surface. It was suggested that a pit could be dug
out that allows the later addition of more force plates as funding
allows or activities require. Consider accessible floor cabling
conduits. Allow 3m all around the force plates. Use an anti-static
floor covering.

Ceiling: High ceiling with a gantry for mounting cameras, spare set of
permanently mounted camera cables, and harnesses, don't allow 'dangling'
lights, consider having suspended overhead power sockets.

Walls: Make sure the architect is aware that cameras need to be mounted
in a stable fashion into a concrete pillar and avoid designs that could
transmit vibrations. Don't allow uplights, avoid direct sunlight or ask
for blackout blinds. Avoid shiny wall finishes. Consider curtains
around the walls to catch projectiles and reduce reflections. You can
never have too many power and computer points. Ask for roller doors to
get equipment in and out. Think about where you might be able to
project data for feedback and teaching.

Lighting: Use standard recessed fluorescent lights, don't allow any
innovative architectural features.


Samantha L. Winter, Ph. D.
Lecturer, Biomechanics
Department of Sport and Exercise Science
Aberystwyth University
Carwyn James Building
Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth
Ceredigion, SY23 3FD, UK.