Background Gait and balance impairments are often present in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and have a significant impact on quality of life and independence. Gold-standard quantitative tools for assessing gait and balance such as motion capture systems and force plates usually require complex technical setups. Wearable sensors, including those integrated into smartphones, offer a more frequent, convenient, and minimally burdensome assessment of functional disability in a home environment. We developed a novel smartphone sensor-based application (Floodlight) that is being used in multiple research and clinical contexts, but a complete validation of this technology is still lacking. Methods This protocol describes an observational study designed to evaluate the analytical and clinical validity of Floodlight gait and balance tests. Approximately 100 PwMS and 35 healthy controls will perform multiple gait and balance tasks in both laboratory-based and real-world environments in order to explore the following properties: (a) concurrent validity of the Floodlight gait and balance tests against gold-standard assessments; (b) reliability of Floodlight digital measures derived under different controlled gait and balance conditions, and different on-body sensor locations; (c) ecological validity of the tests; and (d) construct validity compared with clinician- and patient-reported assessments. Conclusions The Floodlight GaitLab study (ISRCTN15993728) represents a critical step in the technical validation of Floodlight technology to measure gait and balance in PwMS, and will also allow the development of new test designs and algorithms.



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Digital Health



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School of Health Professions