Detection of physical activities using a physical activity monitor system for wheelchair users

Med Eng Phys. 2015 Jan;37(1):68-76. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2014.10.009. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Availability of physical activity monitors for wheelchair users can potentially assist these individuals to track regular physical activity (PA), which in turn could lead to a healthier and more active lifestyle. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and validate algorithms for a physical activity monitoring system (PAMS) to detect wheelchair based activities. The PAMS consists of a gyroscope based wheel rotation monitor (G-WRM) and an accelerometer device (wocket) worn on the upper arm or on the wrist. A total of 45 persons with spinal cord injury took part in the study, which was performed in a structured university-based laboratory environment, a semi-structured environment at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and in the participants' home environments. Participants performed at least ten PAs, other than resting, taken from a list of PAs. The classification performance for the best classifiers on the testing dataset for PAMS-Arm (G-WRM and wocket on upper arm) and PAMS-Wrist (G-WRM and wocket on wrist) was 89.26% and 88.47%, respectively. The outcomes of this study indicate that multi-modal information from the PAMS can help detect various types of wheelchair-based activities in structured laboratory, semi-structured organizational, and unstructured home environments.

Keywords: Activity monitor system; Classification; Machine learning; Physical activity; Smartphones; Spinal cord injury; Wheelchair users.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation*
  • Accelerometry / methods*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Arm / physiology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cell Phone
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity* / physiology
  • Paraplegia / etiology
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wheelchairs*
  • Young Adult