Impacts of using a head-worn display on gait performance during level walking and obstacle crossing

Sunwook Kim, Maury A. Nussbaum, Sophia Ulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Use of a head-worn display (HWD) may affect gait performance and increase slip and trip risks, though there is a lack of information on such effects. This study investigated how different display technologies (monocular and binocular HWDs, and a paper list) and visual information presentation modes affect gait performance. Twelve gender-balanced participants completed walking and obstacle crossing trials on a linear walking track under all experimental conditions and a baseline control (without using a technology). During these trials, information relevant to a simulated light assembly task was provided, as representative of a potential occupational application. Gait performance was assessed based on minimum foot clearance (MFC), required coefficient of friction, foot placement locations around the obstacle, and/or walking/obstacle crossing speed. Use of a HWD had no substantial effects on level walking performance. A more conservative/cautious obstacle crossing strategy was, however, observed with HWD use, including a decrease (∼3%) in obstacle crossing speed (compared to the baseline). Gender-specific foot control strategies (lead foot MFC) were also observed that depended on the specific display technology and information modes. Foot placements around the obstacle were not influenced by use of the binocular HWD, yet a conservative strategy was observed with the monocular HWD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Gait kinematics
  • Head-worn display
  • HWD
  • User interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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