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  • Author: Ioannis T. Pavlidis x
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Chinmay Manohar, Shelly McCrady, Ioannis T. Pavlidis and James A. Levine

Background:

Physical activity is important in ill-health. Inexpensive, accurate and precise devices could help assess daily activity. We integrated novel activity-sensing technology into an earpiece used with portable music-players and phones; the physical-activity-sensing earpiece (PASE). Here we examined whether the PASE could accurately and precisely detect physical activity and measure its intensity and thence predict energy expenditure.

Methods:

Experiment 1: 18 subjects wore PASE with different body postures and during graded walking. Energy expenditure was measured using indirect calorimetry. Experiment 2: 8 subjects wore the earpiece and walked a known distance. Experiment 3: 8 subjects wore the earpiece and ‘jogged’ at 3.5mph.

Results:

The earpiece correctly distinguished lying from sitting/standing and distinguished standing still from walking (76/76 cases). PASE output showed excellent sequential increases with increased in walking velocity and energy expenditure (r 2 > .9). The PASE prediction of free-living walking velocity was, 2.5 ± (SD) 0.18 mph c.f. actual velocity, 2.5 ± 0.16 mph. The earpiece successfully distinguished walking at 3.5 mph from ‘jogging’ at the same velocity (P < .001).

Conclusions:

The subjects tolerated the earpiece well and were comfortable wearing it. The PASE can therefore be used to reliably monitor free-living physical activity and its associated energy expenditure.