Evaluation of Commercial Self-Monitoring Devices for Clinical Purposes: Results from the Future Patient Trial, Phase I

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Jan 22;17(1):211. doi: 10.3390/s17010211.


Commercial self-monitoring devices are becoming increasingly popular, and over the last decade, the use of self-monitoring technology has spread widely in both consumer and medical markets. The purpose of this study was to evaluate five commercially available self-monitoring devices for further testing in clinical applications. Four activity trackers and one sleep tracker were evaluated based on step count validity and heart rate validity.

Methods: The study enrolled 22 healthy volunteers in a walking test. Volunteers walked a 100 m track at 2 km/h and 3.5 km/h. Steps were measured by four activity trackers and compared to gyroscope readings. Two trackers were also tested on nine subjects by comparing pulse readings to Holter monitoring.

Results: The lowest average systematic error in the walking tests was -0.2%, recorded on the Garmin Vivofit 2 at 3.5 km/h; the highest error was the Fitbit Charge HR at 2 km/h with an error margin of 26.8%. Comparisons of pulse measurements from the Fitbit Charge HR revealed a margin error of -3.42% ± 7.99% compared to the electrocardiogram. The Beddit sleep tracker measured a systematic error of -3.27% ± 4.60%.

Conclusion: The measured results revealed the current functionality and limitations of the five self-tracking devices, and point towards a need for future research in this area.

Keywords: activity tracker; gait; heart rate; physical activity; pulse; slow walking; step detection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Sleep
  • Walking