Potential Usefulness of Tracking Head Movement via a Wearable Device for Equilibrium Function Testing at Home

J Med Syst. 2022 Oct 11;46(11):80. doi: 10.1007/s10916-022-01874-4.


Many studies have reported the use of wearable devices to acquire biological data for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. Balance dysfunction, however, is difficult to evaluate in real time because the equilibrium function is conventionally examined using a stabilometer installed on the ground. Here, we used a wearable accelerometer that measures head motion to evaluate balance and examined whether it performs comparably to a conventional stabilometer. We constructed a simplified physical head-feet model that simultaneously records "head" motion measured using an attached wearable accelerometer and center-of-gravity motion at the "feet", which is measured using an attached stabilometer. Total trajectory length (r = 0.818, p -false discovery rate [FDR] = 0.004) and outer peripheral area (r = 0.691, p -FDR = 0.026) values measured using the wearable device and stabilometer were significantly positively correlated. Root mean square area values were not significantly correlated with wearable device stabilometry but were comparable. These results indicate that wearable, widely available, non-medical devices may be used to assess balance outside the hospital setting, and new approaches for testing balance function should be considered.

Keywords: Digital healthcare; Head movement; Postural sway; Stabilometry; Wearable accelerometer sensor.

MeSH terms

  • Head Movements
  • Humans
  • Motion
  • Movement
  • Postural Balance*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*