Acta Gymnica, 2017 (vol. 47), issue 1

Acta Gymnica 2017, 47(1):24-32 | 10.5507/ag.2017.003

The application of accelerometers to measure movements of upper limbs: Pilot study

Patrik Kutilek1,2, Petr Volf1, Rudolf Cerny3, Jan Hejda1
1 Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Kladno, Czech Republic
2 General University Hospital - 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic;
3 University Hospital Motol - 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Background: Even though inertial measurement units (IMU) are already being used experimentally for evaluating movements of segment of the axial skeleton, no studies have been found which have used IMUs to measure the behavior of the segments of upper limbs during quiet stance.

Objective: The objective is to design a suitable application of IMUs to measure movements of the upper extremities in Romberg's test and analyze spontaneous arm movements. Second aim is to identify possible discrepancies between the dominant and non-dominant arm movements.

Methods: The dominant and non-dominant upper limb of each participant was identified. Then, the movements of both upper limbs were measured by the Xsens system equipped with MTx motion trackers during the quiet stance on a firm surface with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC). The measured data was used to calculate the medians and maximums of the superior-inferior, medio-lateral and anterior-posterior acceleration. Also, tremor intensity was calculated to quantitatively evaluate the measured data.

Results: The comparison of values of maximal accelerations of the dominant and non-dominant arms showed significant difference between the arms during EC conditions. The comparison of values of median accelerations of the dominant and non-dominant arms showed significant differences between the acceleration of arms in medio-lateral direction during EO and EC conditions. In all cases, values of maximal and median accelerations and values of tremor intensity of the dominant limb strongly correlated with values on the non-dominant limb.

Conclusions: Findings suggest possible usefulness of the designed application of IMUs and evaluation methods for their use in Romberg's test in clinical practice for evaluation of upper limb movements.

Keywords: acceleration, upper limb, tremor intensity, quiet stance, Romberg's test, handedness

Received: July 4, 2016; Accepted: January 24, 2017; Prepublished online: February 13, 2017; Published: March 31, 2017

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