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In BMC biomedical engineering

Background : High occupational physical activity is associated with lower health. Shoe-based movement sensors can provide an objective measurement of occupational physical activity in a lab setting but the performance of such methods in a free-living environment have not been investigated. The aim of the current study was to investigate the feasibility and accuracy of shoe sensor-based activity classification in an industrial work setting.

Results : An initial calibration part was performed with 35 subjects who performed different workplace activities in a structured lab setting while the movement was measured by a shoe-sensor. Three different machine-learning models (random forest (RF), support vector machine and k-nearest neighbour) were trained to classify activities using the collected lab data. In a second validation part, 29 industry workers were followed at work while an observer noted their activities and the movement was captured with a shoe-based movement sensor. The performance of the trained classification models were validated using the free-living workplace data. The RF classifier consistently outperformed the other models with a substantial difference in in the free-living validation. The accuracy of the initial RF classifier was 83% in the lab setting and 43% in the free-living validation. After combining activities that was difficult to discriminate the accuracy increased to 96 and 71% in the lab and free-living setting respectively. In the free-living part, 99% of the collected samples either consisted of stationary activities or walking.

Conclusions : Walking and stationary activities can be classified with high accuracy from a shoe-based movement sensor in a free-living occupational setting. The distribution of activities at the workplace should be considered when validating activity classification models in a free-living setting.

Fridolfsson Jonatan, Arvidsson Daniel, Doerks Frithjof, Kreidler Theresa J, Grau Stefan


Accelerometry, Occupational health, Physical activity, Workload