Variables influencing wearable sensor outcome estimates in individuals with stroke and incomplete spinal cord injury: A pilot investigation validating two research grade sensors

Chandrasekaran Jayaraman, Chaithanya Krishna Mummidisetty, Alannah Mannix-Slobig, Lori McGee Koch, Arun Jayaraman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Monitoring physical activity and leveraging wearable sensor technologies to facilitate active living in individuals with neurological impairment has been shown to yield benefits in terms of health and quality of living. In this context, accurate measurement of physical activity estimates from these sensors are vital. However, wearable sensor manufacturers generally only provide standard proprietary algorithms based off of healthy individuals to estimate physical activity metrics which may lead to inaccurate estimates in population with neurological impairment like stroke and incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). The main objective of this cross-sectional investigation was to evaluate the validity of physical activity estimates provided by standard proprietary algorithms for individuals with stroke and iSCI. Two research grade wearable sensors used in clinical settings were chosen and the outcome metrics estimated using standard proprietary algorithms were validated against designated golden standard measures (Cosmed K4B2 for energy expenditure and metabolic equivalent and manual tallying for step counts). The influence of sensor location, sensor type and activity characteristics were also studied. Methods: 28 participants (Healthy (n = 10); incomplete SCI (n = 8); stroke (n = 10)) performed a spectrum of activities in a laboratory setting using two wearable sensors (ActiGraph and Metria-IH1) at different body locations. Manufacturer provided standard proprietary algorithms estimated the step count, energy expenditure (EE) and metabolic equivalent (MET). These estimates were compared with the estimates from gold standard measures. For verifying validity, a series of Kruskal Wallis ANOVA tests (Games-Howell multiple comparison for post-hoc analyses) were conducted to compare the mean rank and absolute agreement of outcome metrics estimated by each of the devices in comparison with the designated gold standard measurements. Results: The sensor type, sensor location, activity characteristics and the population specific condition influences the validity of estimation of physical activity metrics using standard proprietary algorithms. Conclusions: Implementing population specific customized algorithms accounting for the influences of sensor location, type and activity characteristics for estimating physical activity metrics in individuals with stroke and iSCI could be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 13 2018


  • ActiGraph
  • Energy expenditure
  • Metabolic equivalent
  • Metria-IH1
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Step counts
  • Stroke
  • Sweat rate
  • Validation
  • Wearable devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics


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