Occupational Risk Prevention through Smartwatches: Precision and Uncertainty Effects of the Built-In Accelerometer

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Nov 6;18(11):3805. doi: 10.3390/s18113805.


Wearable technology has had a significant growth in the last years; this is particularly true of smartwatches, due to their potential advantages and ease of use. These smart devices integrate sensors that can be potentially used within industrial settings and for several applications, such as safety, monitoring, and the identification of occupational risks. The accelerometer is one of the main sensors integrated into these devices. However, several studies have identified that sensors integrated into smart devices may present inaccuracies during data acquisition, which may influence the performance of their potential applications. This article presents an analysis from the metrological point of view to characterize the amplitude and frequency response of the integrated accelerometers in three currently available commercial smartwatches, and it also includes an analysis of the uncertainties associated with these measurements by adapting the procedures described in several International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. The results show that despite the technical limitations produced by the factory configuration, these devices can be used in various applications related to occupational risk assessment. Opportunities for improvement have also been identified, which will allow us to take advantage of this technology in several innovative applications within industrial settings and, in particular, for occupational health purposes.

Keywords: microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers; risk assessment; smartwatches; wearable.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Occupational Health / trends*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*