Assessment of postural sway with a pendant-mounted wearable sensor

Shubo Lyu, Andris Freivalds, Danielle Symons Downs, Stephen J. Piazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Body-worn inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors have been widely used in postural stability and balance studies because of their low cost and convenience. In most of these studies, a single IMU sensor is attached to a waist belt near the body's center of mass. Some populations such as pregnant women, however, may find a waist belt challenging in terms of fit and comfort. For this reason it may be useful to identify an alternative location for placement of an IMU and a more comfortable means for attaching the sensor to the body. Research question Does placing an IMU sensor in a pendant worn around the neck permit discrimination between conditions with varying postural stability? Methods: Twenty-six healthy participants performed three standing tasks (double-leg, tandem, and single-leg standing) under eyes-open and eyes-closed vision conditions to preliminarily assess the ability of the pendant sensor to discriminate between balance conditions. Discrimination based upon data from a belt-mounted IMU was assessed in the same trials. Differences in standard deviation of acceleration components, sway area, and jerkiness due to trial condition and sensor were evaluated using analysis of variance followed by post hoc comparisons. These data were also incorporated into receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to assess the effectiveness of each sensor at discriminating between conditions. Results: Stability was found to vary across conditions, but there was no interaction between stability and sensor location (all p ≥ 0.323). ROC curve analysis showed that sensors in both locations were good discriminators between conditions. Significance Placing an IMU in a pendant may be feasible for studying and monitoring postural instability. This approach may be especially valuable when considering populations for which wearing a belt is uncomfortable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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