How to track... walking?

Ok so here I am, sitting at work in a snow storm with none of my bosses here to actually give me stuff to do, but I'm not allowed to leave. So the silly thoughts start to roll through. Brain-storming exercise time.

So background on this thought. A year or so ago, I recall on popular science or some other site that there was a class at some college who had built a set of motorized legs for one of their classmates who was unable to walk. And after working for several months and a lot of issues, they finally got the things working just in time for graduation, And the kid who couldn't walk, walked up and got his diploma with the rest of class (cheers and tears had by all, GG).

But so I started thinking. Technologically wise, its not that expensive or difficult to make a pair of legs (unless its for the medical industry) with some motors that will be able to move. Usually the biggest problems come from needing a power source that can run for long enough, and having them capable of balancing properly (especially with a person who isn't accustomed to standing upright trying to balance with them) while walking.

I'm fairly certain that someones made them before. But what about a pair of braces that a person who can walk could wear on their legs to gather data about how one walks, to be loaded into your robotic legs to help a disabled person walk. I know you'd want to track the angle of hips, knees, and ankles as you walked (perhaps also the toe angle during a step). Probably also want the load on each leg as it went through a step. And maybe a 3axis accelerometer, track the side to side sway on the persons body as they took a step.

This isn't really a serious post. I'm not gonna build anything like this. Just trying to keep the mind working on this dreary boring day of blizzard, and was wondering what anyone else might think would be needed.

There has been a huge amount of development work on making self-balancing robots. Making something that balanced a person (or helped them to balance themselves) would be far more challenging, because the cost of failure is so much higher. If you were serious about trying to solve the problem yourself, I'd suggest setting aside many man-years to do it.

Look up "exoskeleton". A couple of years ago, these were all the rage at amateur
robotics conventions.

"Time Magazine Names the XOS 2 Exoskeleton "Most Awesomest" Invention of 2010"