JOURNAL ARTICLE

Would a thermal sensor improve arm motion classification accuracy of a single wrist-mounted inertial device?

Jordan Lui, Carlo Menon
Biomedical Engineering Online 2019 May 7, 18 (1): 53
31064354

BACKGROUND: Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)-based wearable sensors have found common use to track arm activity in daily life. However, classifying a high number of arm motions with single IMU-based systems still remains a challenging task. This paper explores the possibility to increase the classification accuracy of these systems by incorporating a thermal sensor. Increasing the number of arm motions that can be classified is relevant to increasing applicability of single-device wearable systems for a variety of applications, including activity monitoring for athletes, gesture control for video games, and motion classification for physical rehabilitation patients. This study explores whether a thermal sensor can increase the classification accuracy of a single-device motion classification system when evaluated with healthy participants. The motions performed are reproductions of exercises described in established rehabilitation protocols.

METHODS: A single wrist-mounted device was built with an inertial sensor and a thermal sensor. This device was worn on the wrist, was battery powered, and transmitted data over Bluetooth to computer during recording. A LabVIEW Graphical User Interface (GUI) instructed the user to complete 24 different arm motions in a pre-randomized order. The received data were pre-processed, and secondary features were calculated on these data. These features were processed with Principal Component Analysis (PCA) for dimensionality reduction and then several machine learning models were applied to select the optimal model based on speed and accuracy. To test the effectiveness of the scheme, 11 healthy subjects participated in the trials.

RESULTS: Average personalized classification model accuracies of 93.55% were obtained for 11 healthy participants. Generalized model accuracies of 82.5% indicated that the device can classify arm motions on a user without prior training. The addition of a thermal sensor significantly increased classification accuracy of a single wrist-mounted inertial device, from 75 to 93.55%, (F(1,20) = 90.53, p = 7.25e-09).

CONCLUSION: This study found that the addition of the thermal sensor improved the classification accuracy of 24 arm motions from 75 to 93.55% for a single-device system. Our results provide evidence that a single device can be used to classify a relatively large number of arm motions from arm rehabilitation protocols. While this study provides a conceptual proof-of-concept with a healthy population, additional investigation is required to evaluate the performance of this system for specific applications, such as activity classification for physically affected stroke survivors undergoing home-based rehabilitation.

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