Suitability of a Low-Cost Wearable Sensor to Assess Turning in Healthy Adults

Rachel Mason, Joe Byerley, Andrea Baker, Dylan Powell, Liam T. Pearson, Gill Barry, Alan Godfrey, Martina Mancini, Samuel Stuart, Rosie Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Turning is a complex measure of gait that accounts for over 50% of daily steps. Traditionally, turning has been measured in a research grade laboratory setting, however, there is demand for a low-cost and portable solution to measure turning using wearable technology. This study aimed to determine the suitability of a low-cost inertial sensor-based device (AX6, Axivity) to assess turning, by simultaneously capturing and comparing to a turn algorithm output from a previously validated reference inertial sensor-based device (Opal), in healthy young adults. Methodology: Thirty participants (aged 23.9 ± 4.89 years) completed the following turning protocol wearing the AX6 and reference device: a turn course, a two-minute walk (including 180° turns) and turning in place, alternating 360° turn right and left. Both devices were attached at the lumbar spine, one Opal via a belt, and the AX6 via double sided tape attached directly to the skin. Turning measures included number of turns, average turn duration, angle, velocity, and jerk. Results: Agreement between the outcomes from the AX6 and reference device was good to excellent for all turn characteristics (all ICCs > 0.850) during the turning 360° task. There was good agreement for all turn characteristics (all ICCs > 0.800) during the two-minute walk task, except for moderate agreement for turn angle (ICC 0.683). Agreement for turn outcomes was moderate to good during the turns course (ICCs range; 0.580 to 0.870). Conclusions: A low-cost wearable sensor, AX6, can be a suitable and fit-for-purpose device when used with validated algorithms for assessment of turning outcomes, particularly during continuous turning tasks. Future work needs to determine the suitability and validity of turning in aging and clinical cohorts within low-resource settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9322
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • inertial sensors
  • turning
  • validation
  • wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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