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In Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation ; h5-index 53.0

BACKGROUND : Recently, machine learning techniques have been applied to data collected from inertial measurement units to automatically assess balance, but rely on hand-engineered features. We explore the utility of machine learning to automatically extract important features from inertial measurement unit data for balance assessment.

FINDINGS : Ten participants with balance concerns performed multiple balance exercises in a laboratory setting while wearing an inertial measurement unit on their lower back. Physical therapists watched video recordings of participants performing the exercises and rated balance on a 5-point scale. We trained machine learning models using different representations of the unprocessed inertial measurement unit data to estimate physical therapist ratings. On a held-out test set, we compared these learned models to one another, to participants' self-assessments of balance, and to models trained using hand-engineered features. Utilizing the unprocessed kinematic data from the inertial measurement unit provided significant improvements over both self-assessments and models using hand-engineered features (AUROC of 0.806 vs. 0.768, 0.665).

CONCLUSIONS : Unprocessed data from an inertial measurement unit used as input to a machine learning model produced accurate estimates of balance performance. The ability to learn from unprocessed data presents a potentially generalizable approach for assessing balance without the need for labor-intensive feature engineering, while maintaining comparable model performance.

Kamran Fahad, Harrold Kathryn, Zwier Jonathan, Carender Wendy, Bao Tian, Sienko Kathleen H, Wiens Jenna


Balance training, Machine learning, Telerehabilitation, Wearable sensors