, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 659-669

Observations on the design and specification of a wrist-worn human activity monitoring system


Monitoring motor activity provides an important index of sleep, rest, and activity in field studies of sustained operations, shift-work schedules, and sleep deprivation. Poor results with previous methods led to development of a program to design a technologically improved monitoring system. In this 3-year program, specific issues were examined, ranging from the empirical characteristics of the wrist-movement signal and transduction methods to conversion of that signal to a useful index of motility. In this report, we discuss the several design issues encountered as well as observations, conclusions, and resulting specifications. The product of this program is a microprocessor-controlled, self-contained activity recording system, with 16K of digital storage and an operating life of over 30 days. The Walter Reed Activity Monitoring System is designed to examine further the behavioral and physiological correlates of activity.

Acknowledgement is hereby made to David R. Thorne, Helen C. Sing, and Joseph Fritz. We also wish to acknowledge the valuable consultation of M. H. Loew and M. F. Eisenberg, of George Washington University, and the tireless efforts of Robert Conlan and Robert Williams of Precision Control Design, Inc. Their work was achieved through a contract awarded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (Contract No. DAMD-17-83-Q-0027).
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense (para 4–3, AR 360–5)