This study assessed whether self-propelled wheelchair driving can be validly detected by a new method using a set of two commonly used accelerometers. In a rehabilitation centre, 10 wheelchair-bound persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) (aged 29-63 years) performed a series of representative daily activities according to a protocol including self-propelled wheelchair driving and other activities. Two ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers were used; one was attached at the wrist, the other to the spokes of the wheelchair wheel. Based on the movement intensity of the two accelerometers, a custom-made algorithm in MatLab differentiated between self-propelled wheelchair driving and other activities (e.g. being pushed or arm movements not related to wheelchair driving). Video recordings were used for reference. Validity scores between the accelerometer output and the video analyses were expressed in terms of agreement, sensitivity and specificity scores. Overall agreement for the detection of self-propelled wheelchair driving was 85%; sensitivity was 88% and specificity 83%. Disagreement between accelerometer output and video analysis was largest for wheelchair driving at very low speed on a treadmill, wheelchair driving on a slope on a treadmill, and being pushed in the wheelchair whilst making excessive arm movements. Valid detection of self-propelled wheelchair driving is provided by two accelerometers and a simple algorithm. Disagreement with the video analysis was largest during three atypical daily activities.

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Physiological Measurement
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

Kooijmans, H., Horemans, H., Stam, H., & Bussmann, H. (2014). Valid detection of self-propelled wheelchair driving with two accelerometers. Physiological Measurement, 35(11), 2297–2306. doi:10.1088/0967-3334/35/11/2297