Is what you see what you get? Standard inclinometry of set upper arm elevation angles

Appl Ergon. 2015 Mar;47:242-52. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.08.014. Epub 2014 Oct 27.


Previous research suggests inclinometers (INC) underestimate upper arm elevation. This study was designed to quantify possible bias in occupationally relevant postures, and test whether INC performance could be improved using calibration. Participants were meticulously positioned in set arm flexion and abduction angles between 0° and 150°. Different subject-specific and group-level regression models comprising linear and quadratic components describing the relationship between set and INC-registered elevation were developed using subsets of data, and validated using additional data. INC measured arm elevation showed a downward bias, particularly above 60°. INC data adjusted using the regression models were superior to unadjusted data; a subject-specific, two-point calibration based on measurements at 0° and 90° gave results closest to the 'true' set angles. Thus, inclinometer measured arm elevation data required calibration to arrive at 'true' elevation angles. Calibration to a common measurement scale should be considered when comparing arm elevation data collected using different methods.

Keywords: Measurement error; Observation; Working postures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthrometry, Articular / instrumentation*
  • Bias
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Calibration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Posture*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*