Rolf Moe-Nilssen


Professor emeritus



Field of interest

Based upon current theories of motor behaviour where balance is believed to be task and context specific, I have developed a methodology based upon body fixed kinematic sensors for assessing balance during standing and walking. An advantage of wearable technology over traditional laboratory equipment, is its portability which allows a variety of environmental conditions, including clinical and everyday settings, complying with important ecological validity requirements. A number of objections have been raised against kinematic sensors in the past, the most important being drift and an uncontrollable gravity component caused by a tilted device. This is of relevance for our methodology, which is based upon measurements from reference points over the lumbar spine of a moving subject. We have solved these problems using recent gyro enhanced sensors and tailor-made software, and have demonstrated how these procedures dramatically improve validity of measures used to assess locomotor control.

Most parameters derived from clinical gait analysis are speed dependent. This includes commonly reported measures like step length, cadence (step frequency), and also movements of the trunk. Nevertheless, a common procedure has been to test subjects walking at their preferred speed only, which may vary considerably between tests and subjects. I have suggested an alternative procedure, where each subject walk at different self-administered speeds, while gait parameters are estimated at a standardized common speed. I have demonstrated how this procedure may disclose important aspects of locomotor control which may otherwise be camouflaged. Recent and ongoing research includes studies of variability as noise and as adaptability. By properly interpreting variability in locomotor control, we hope to further improve the clinical usefulness of gait analysis.

This approach has allowed me to initiate and to participate in joint ventures across professional and geographical boundaries, including a diversity of scientific approaches and research questions.

EU research

The PreventIT Study, Advisory Board (2016-2018)

Prevention of Falls Network Europe (Profane), partner and member of stearing group (2003-2008) 

Invited lectures at international conferences

“Gait assessment in clinical practice and clinical trials”, 3rd International Congress on Gait and Mental Function, Washington DC, 2010

“Velocity based normalization of spatio-temporal gait parameters”, Gait analysis meeting, Basel 2009

"Control of balance and gait", Nordic Physiotherapy Congress, Oslo 2009

 “Physiology and pathophysiology of gait and balance”, Berzelius symposium, The Swedish Society of Medicine and The Royal Society of Medicine, Stockholm 2008

"Variability in motor function. Adaptability, impaired control - or simply: measurement error?" 5th Motor Control Conference, Sofia 2007

"The science behind measuring postural stability and gait", 8th Int. Conference on Falls and Postural Stability, British Geriatrics Society, Birmingham 2007

"Gait variability in elderly persons", 5th World Congress of Biomechanics, Munich 2006

Referee work

Advances in Physiotherapy

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Clinical Rehabilitation

European Journal of Neurology 

Experimental Brain Research

Gait & Posture

International Journal of Sports Medicine

Journal of Biomechanics

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine

Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

Medical Engineering & Physics

Perceptual and Motor Skills

Physiotherapy Theory and Praxis

Research in Sports Medicine

Transactions on Neural Systems & Rehabilitation Engineering 


Honorary member, International Society of Posture and Gait Research

Norwegian Physiotherapist Association

European Society of Movement Analysis in Adults and Children

Royal Statistical Society

International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Mobility and Exercise in the Elderly

Assessment of PhD dissertations

Umeå University, Sweden 2021

University of Stavanger, Norway 2016

Umeå University, Sweden 2016

University of Southern Denmark 2015

University of Oslo, Norway 2014

Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands 2014

University of Gothenburg, Sweden 2013

University of Southern Denmark 2013

Umeå University, Sweden 2013

Aarhus University, Denmark 2011

Aarhus University, Denmark 2010

University of London, UK 2008

Aalborg University, Denmark 2007

University of London, UK 2006

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 2006

École Polytechniique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland 2005

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 2004

University of Kuopio, Finland 2004




Senioruniversiteter og eldreorganisasjoner

Aldring, balanse og fysisk aktivitet

Universiteter, høyskoler og helseinstitusjoner

Utvikling og evaluering av målemetoder

Analyse av balanse og gangfunksjon






Design and Analysis of Method Evaluation Studies

Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials

Human Movement Science

Balance control in Standing and Walking

Gait analysis


Body worn sensors for measurement of gait and physical activity


Research methods





Recent activities

Chief lecturer, PhD-courses on method evaluation, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences 2007-2019, Umeå University 2016, University of Oslo 2009, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 2009, University of Bergen 2011, 2007

Lecturer, Joint PhD-course on clincal trials, University of Oslo and University of Bergen 2009

Lecturer, 2nd Summer School on Advanced technologies for neuro-motor assessment and rehabilitation, post doctoral and PhD-course, University of Bologna 2008

Initiator and chief lecturer, International research workshop on gait analysis, University of Bergen 2006

Initiator and chief lecturer, Nordic research workshop on locomotor control, University of Bergen 2004

Chief lecturer, Norwegian research course on reliability statistics, University of Bergen 2003

Lecturer, Nordic research course on clinical studies, Lund University 2003



Se en full oversikt over publikasjoner i Cristin


Moe-Nilssen R. Trunk accelerometry. A new method for assessing balance under various task and environmental constraints. Doctoral thesis. Bergen: University of Bergen, 1999. ISBN 82-91232-20-2



Adjusting reference gait data for body size

Assessing balance and gait in real-world environments


2012    Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Global Public Health and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

2004    Professor in Physiotherapy, Dept. of Global Public Health and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

1999    PhD dissertation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

1994    Registered Physiotherapy Specialist in Health and Environmental Work

1993    MSc degree in physiotherapy. Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen

1985    Registered physiotherapist. The College of Physiotherapy, Bergen

1967    Master of commerce (siviløkonom). Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen

Current research focus

Adjusting reference gait data for body size

Assessing balance and gait in real-world environments