Activity classification using a single chest mounted tri-axial accelerometer

A. Godfrey*, A. K. Bourke, G. M. Ólaighin, P. van de Ven, J. Nelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


Accelerometer-based activity monitoring sensors have become the most suitable means for objective assessment of mobility trends within patient study groups. The use of minimal, low power, IC (integrated circuit) components within these sensors enable continuous (long-term) monitoring which provides more accurate mobility trends (over days or weeks), reduced cost, longer battery life, reduced size and weight of sensor. Using scripted activities of daily living (ADL) such as sitting, standing, walking, and numerous postural transitions performed under supervised conditions by young and elderly subjects, the ability to discriminate these ADL were investigated using a single tri-axial accelerometer, mounted on the trunk. Data analysis was performed using Matlab ® to determine the accelerations performed during eight different ADL. Transitions and transition types were detected using the scalar (dot) product technique and vertical velocity estimates on a single tri-axial accelerometer was compared to a proven discrete wavelet transform method that incorporated accelerometers and gyroscopes. Activities and postural transitions were accurately detected by this simplified low-power kinematic sensor and activity detection algorithm with a sensitivity and specificity of 86-92% for young healthy subjects in a controlled setting and 83-89% for elderly healthy subjects in a home environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1135
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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