Posture transition analysis with barometers: contribution to accelerometer-based algorithms

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Posture transitions are one of the most mechanically demanding tasks and are useful to evaluate the motor status of patients with motor impairments, frail individuals or the elderly, among others. So far, wearable inertial systems have been one of the most employed tools in the study of these movements due to their suitable size and weight, being non-invasive systems. These devices are mainly composed of accelerometers and, to a lesser extent, gyroscopes, magnetometers or barometers. Although accelerometers provide the most reliable measurement, detecting activities where a change of altitude is observed, such as some posture transitions, may require additional sensors to reliably detect these activities. In this work, we present an algorithm that combines the information of a barometer and an accelerometer to detect posture transitions and falls. In contrast to other works, we test different activities (where altitude is involved) in order to achieve a reliable classifier against false positives. Furthermore, by means of feature selection methods, we obtain optimal subsets of features for the accelerometer and barometer sensors to contextualise these activities. The selected features are tested through several machine learning classifiers, which are assessed with an evaluation data set. Results show that the inclusion of barometer features in addition to those obtained for an accelerometer clearly enhances the detection accuracy up to a 11%, in terms of geometric mean between sensitivity and specificity, compared to algorithms where only the accelerometer is used. Finally, we have also analysed the computer burden; in this sense, the usage of barometers, in addition to increase the accuracy, also reduces the computational resources required to classify a new pattern, as shown by a reduction in the number of support vectors.

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This project has been performed within the framework of MASPARK Project which is funded by La Fundació La Marató de TV3 436/C/2014. Authors would like to thank to all participants who took part of these tests.

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Correspondence to Daniel Rodríguez-Martín.

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Rodríguez-Martín, D., Samà, A., Pérez-López, C. et al. Posture transition analysis with barometers: contribution to accelerometer-based algorithms. Neural Comput & Applic 32, 335–349 (2020).

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  • Accelerometer
  • Barometer
  • Human activity recognition