Osaka University team estimates a person’s age from their gait


An Osaka University institute said Monday that researchers have developed an image analysis system that calculates a person’s likely age by the way they walk.

The machine films a subject’s gait and compares it with known patterns, according to the team at the university’s Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research. It goes on show at a national science museum in Tokyo starting Wednesday.

“We hope objective information on walking features will help people keep themselves fit,” said Yasushi Yagi, a professor who heads the team.

The team surveyed about 4,000 people of various ages and measured their walking patterns such as stride length, arm swing and walking speed as well as body shape — including the form of their back muscles and head size.

It then created a database of walking features that vary according to age. In general, people in their 20s do not swing their arms back and forward so much and people in their 40s and 50s tend to be round-shouldered when they walk.

Subjects are filmed from the side as they walk back and forth along a 6-meter passage. Referring to the database, the system comes up with an estimated age of the person.

The system may help identify individuals from security camera footage, the team said.

The system will be exhibited at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo’s Koto Ward through April 11 next year.