Interunit and intraunit reliability of the RT3 triaxial accelerometer

J Phys Act Health. 2008 Jul;5(4):527-38. doi: 10.1123/jpah.5.4.527.


Background: Interest in the quantification of physical activity is on the rise. Triaxial accelerometry has frequently been used; however, research on the reliability of these devices is limited. We examine the interunit and intraunit reliability of 22 RT3 triaxial accelerometers using a performance-documented laboratory agitator.

Methods: The RT3 units were tested while moving in 2 directions (antero-posterior, medio-lateral) and speeds (150 and 275 RPM) on a shaker with simultaneous documented performance output for three 24-hour periods.

Results: Minimal shaker variance was recorded for all trials (coefficients of variation [CVs] < 0.52%). Our data demonstrate good reliability within RT3s (CVs < 1.81%) but poor reliability among the 22 units (CVs range = 9.5% to 34.7%).

Conclusions: In longitudinal studies, each subject should use the same RT3 unit at each assessment. The use of multiple RT3 units in cross-sectional studies is not recommended because data interpretation would be compromised by the high between-unit variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ergometry / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Reproducibility of Results