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Concept: Accelerometer


BACKGROUND: An evidence-based steps/day translation of U.S. federal guidelines for youth to engage in >=60 minutes/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) would help health researchers, practitioners, and lay professionals charged with increasing youth’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to determine the number of free-living steps/day (both raw and adjusted to a pedometer scale) that correctly classified children (6–11 years) and adolescents (12–17 years) as meeting the 60-minute MVPA guideline using the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) accelerometer data, and to evaluate the 12,000 steps/day recommendation recently adopted by the President’s Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program. METHODS: Analyses were conducted among children (n = 915) and adolescents (n = 1,302) in 2011 and 2012. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve plots and classification statistics revealed candidate steps/day cut points that discriminated meeting/not meeting the MVPA threshold by age group, gender and different accelerometer activity cut points. The Evenson and two Freedson age-specific (3 and 4 METs) cut points were used to define minimum MVPA, and optimal steps/day were examined for raw steps and adjusted to a pedometer-scale to facilitate translation to lay populations. RESULTS: For boys and girls (6–11 years) with >= 60 minutes/day of MVPA, a range of 11,500–13,500 uncensored steps/day for children was the optimal range that balanced classification errors. For adolescent boys and girls (12–17) with >=60 minutes/day of MVPA, 11,500–14,000 uncensored steps/day was optimal. Translation to a pedometer-scaling reduced these minimum values by 2,500 step/day to 9,000 steps/day. Area under the curve was >=84% in all analyses. CONCLUSIONS: No single study has definitively identified a precise and unyielding steps/day value for youth. Considering the other evidence to date, we propose a reasonable ‘rule of thumb’ value of >= 11,500 accelerometer-determined steps/day for both children and adolescents (and both genders), accepting that more is better. For practical applications, 9,000 steps/day appears to be a more pedometer-friendly value.

Concepts: Gender, Receiver operating characteristic, Statistical classification, Accelerometer


To investigate the biological, social, behavioural and environmental factors associated with non-consent, and non-return of reliable accelerometer data (≥2 days lasting ≥10 h/day), in a UK-wide postal study of children’s activity.

Concepts: Cohort study, Cohort, Epidemiology, Environment, Accelerometer


This paper presents a fully differential single-axis accelerometer fabricated using the MetalMUMPs process. The unique structural configuration and common-centriod wiring of the metal electrodes enables a fully differential sensing scheme with robust metal sensing structures. CoventorWare is used in structural and electrical design and simulation of the fully differential accelerometer. The MUMPs foundry fabrication process of the sensor allows for high yield, good process consistency and provides 20 μm structural thickness of the sensing element, which makes the capacitive sensing eligible. In device characterization, surface profile of the fabricated device is measured using a Veeco surface profilometer; and mean and gradient residual stress in the nickel structure are calculated as approximately 94.7 MPa and -5.27 MPa/μm, respectively. Dynamic characterization of the sensor is performed using a vibration shaker with a high-end commercial calibrating accelerometer as reference. The sensitivity of the sensor is measured as 0.52 mV/g prior to off-chip amplification. Temperature dependence of the sensing capacitance is also characterized. A -0.021fF/°C is observed. The findings in the presented work will provide useful information for design of sensors and actuators such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and electrothermal actuators that are to be fabricated using MetalMUMPs technology.

Concepts: Structure, Microelectromechanical systems, Transducer, Accelerometer, Sensor, Sensors, Profilometer, Capacitive displacement sensor


Advances in the development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) have made possible the fabrication of cheap and small dimension accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are being used in many applications where the global positioning system (GPS) and the inertial navigation system (INS) integration is carried out, i.e., identifying track defects, terrestrial and pedestrian navigation, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), stabilization of many platforms, etc. Although these MEMS sensors are low-cost, they present different errors, which degrade the accuracy of the navigation systems in a short period of time. Therefore, a suitable modeling of these errors is necessary in order to minimize them and, consequently, improve the system performance. In this work, the most used techniques currently to analyze the stochastic errors that affect these sensors are shown and compared: we examine in detail the autocorrelation, the Allan variance (AV) and the power spectral density (PSD) techniques. Subsequently, an analysis and modeling of the inertial sensors, which combines autoregressive (AR) filters and wavelet de-noising, is also achieved. Since a low-cost INS (MEMS grade) presents error sources with short-term (high-frequency) and long-term (low-frequency) components, we introduce a method that compensates for these error terms by doing a complete analysis of Allan variance, wavelet de-nosing and the selection of the level of decomposition for a suitable combination between these techniques. Eventually, in order to assess the stochastic models obtained with these techniques, the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) of a loosely-coupled GPS/INS integration strategy is augmented with different states. Results show a comparison between the proposed method and the traditional sensor error models under GPS signal blockages using real data collected in urban roadways.

Concepts: Estimation theory, Signal processing, Inertial navigation system, Accelerometer, Global Positioning System, Dead reckoning, Autocorrelation, Unmanned aerial vehicle


For many patients clinical prescription of walking will be beneficial to health and accelerometers can be used to monitor their walking intensity, frequency and duration over many days. Walking intensity should include establishment of individual specific accelerometer count, walking speed and energy expenditure (VO2) relationships and this can be achieved using a walking protocol on a treadmill or overground. However, differences in gait mechanics during treadmill compared to overground walking may result in inaccurate estimations of free-living walking speed and VO2. The aims of this study were to compare the validity of track- and treadmill-based calibration methods for estimating free-living level walking speed and VO2 and to explain between-method differences in accuracy of estimation.

Concepts: Estimator, Psychometrics, Physical quantities, Estimation, Walking, Pedometer, Accelerometer, G-force


Abstract Activity monitors are frequently used to assess activity in many settings. But as technology advances, so do the mechanisms used to estimate activity causing a continuous need to validate newly developed monitors. The purpose of this study was to examine the step count validity of the Yamax Digiwalker SW-701 pedometer (YX), Omron HJ-720 T pedometer (OP), Polar Active accelerometer (PAC) and Actigraph gt3x+ accelerometer (AG) under controlled and free-living conditions. Participants completed five stages of treadmill walking (n = 43) and a subset of these completed a 3-day free-living wear period (n = 37). Manually counted (MC) steps provided a criterion measure for treadmill walking, whereas the comparative measure during free-living was the YX. During treadmill walking, the OP was the most accurate monitor across all speeds (±1.1% of MC steps), while the PAC underestimated steps by 6.7-16.0% per stage. During free-living, the OP and AG counted 97.5% and 98.5% of YX steps, respectively. The PAC overestimated steps by 44.0%, or 5,265 steps per day. The Omron pedometer seems to provide the most reliable and valid estimate of steps taken, as it was the best performer under lab-based conditions and provided comparable results to the YX in free-living. Future studies should consider these monitors in additional populations and settings.

Concepts: Validation, Psychometrics, Validity, Count, Walking, Pedometer, Accelerometer, Monitor


The aim of this review was to identify and summarise publications, which have reported clinical applications of upper limb accelerometry for stroke within free-living environments and make recommendations for future studies. Data was searched from MEDLINE®, Scopus, IEEExplore and Compendex databases. The final search was 31st October 2013. Any study was included which reported clinical assessments in parallel with accelerometry in a free-living hospital or home setting. Study quality is reflected by participant numbers, methodological approach, technical details of the equipment used, blinding of clinical measures, whether safety and compliance data was collected. First author screened articles for inclusion and inclusion of full text articles and data extraction was confirmed by the third author. Out of 1375 initial abstracts, 8 articles were included. All participants were stroke patients. Accelerometers were worn for either 24 hours or 3 days. Data were collected as summed acceleration counts over a specified time or as the duration of active/inactive periods. Activity in both arms was reported by all studies and the ratio of impaired to unimpaired arm activity was calculated in six studies. The correlation between clinical assessments and accelerometry was tested in five studies and significant correlations were found. The efficacy of a rehabilitation intervention was assessed using accelerometry by three studies: in two studies both accelerometry and clinical test scores detected a post-treatment difference but in one study accelerometry data did not change despite clinical test scores showing motor and functional improvements. Further research is needed to understand the additional value of accelerometry as a measure of upper limb use and function in a clinical context. A simple and easily interpretable accelerometry approach is required.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Ratio, Upper limb, Accelerometer, Limb, Arm


Examining the characteristics of an animal’s lying behaviour, such as frequency and duration of lying bouts, has become increasingly relevant for animal welfare research. Triaxial accelerometers have the advantage of being able to continuously monitor an animal’s standing and lying behaviour without relying on live observations or video recordings. Multiple models of accelerometers have been validated for use in monitoring dairy cattle; however, no units have been validated for use in equines. This study tested Onset Pendant G data loggers attached to the hind limb of each of two mature Standardbred horses for a period of 5 days. Data loggers were set to record their position every 20 s. Horses were monitored via live observations during the day and by video recordings during the night to compare activity against accelerometer data. All lying events occurred overnight (three to five lying bouts per horse per night). Data collected from the loggers was converted and edited using a macro program to calculate the number of bouts and the length of time each animal spent lying down by hour and by day. A paired t-test showed no significant difference between the video observations and the output from the data loggers (P=0.301). The data loggers did not distinguish standing hipshot from standing square. Predictability, sensitivity, and specificity were all >99%. This study has validated the use of Onset Pendant G data loggers to determine the frequency and duration of standing and lying bouts in adult horses when set to sample and register readings at 20 s intervals.

Concepts: Statistics, Milk, Mammal, Cattle, Horse, Accelerometer, Veal, Domestication of the horse


Molecular-electronic transducers (MET) have a high conversion coefficient and low power consumption, and do not require precision mechanical components thus allowing the construction of cost- and power-efficient seismic accelerometers. Whereas the instrumental resolution of a MET accelerometer within the 0.1-100 Hz frequency range surpasses that of the best Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and even some force-balanced accelerometers, the fundamental inability to register gravity or, in other words, zero frequency acceleration, significantly constrains the further spread of MET-based accelerometers. Ways of obviating this inherent zero frequency insensitivity within MET technology have so far, not been found. This article explores a possible approach to the construction of a hybrid seismic accelerometer combining the superb performance of a MET sensor in the middle and high frequency range with a conventional on chip MEMS accelerometer covering the lower frequencies and gravity. Though the frequency separation of a signal is widely used in various applications, the opposite task, i.e., the combining of two signals with different bandwidths is less common. Based on theoretical research and the analysis of actual sensors' performance, the authors determined optimal parameters for building a hybrid sensor. Description and results for implementation of the hybrid sensor are given in the Experimental section of the article. Completing a MET sensor with a cost-effective MEMS permitted the construction of a low noise DC accelerometer preserving the noise performance of a MET sensing element. The work presented herein may prove useful in designing other combined sensors based on different technologies.

Concepts: Signal processing, Frequency, Microelectromechanical systems, Transducer, Accelerometer, Measuring instruments, Sensor, Transducers


The use of accelerometers to objectively measure physical activity (PA) has become the most preferred method of choice in recent years. Traditionally, cutpoints are used to assign impulse counts recorded by the devices to sedentary and activity ranges. Here, hidden Markov models (HMM) are used to improve the cutpoint method to achieve a more accurate identification of the sequence of modes of PA.

Concepts: Markov chain, Hidden Markov model, Choice, Accelerometer, Topological space, Andrey Markov