Design of a Low-Cost, Wearable Device for Kinematic Analysis in Physical Therapy Settings

Andrew Hua, Nicole Johnson, Joshua Quinton, Pratik Chaudhary, David Buchner, Manuel E. Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Unsupervised home exercise is a major component of physical therapy (PT). This study proposes an inexpensive, inertial measurement unit-based wearable device to capture kinematic data to facilitate exercise. However, conveying and interpreting kinematic data to non-experts poses a challenge due to the complexity and background knowledge required that most patients lack. Objectives The objectives of this study were to identify key user interface and user experience features that would likely improve device adoption and assess participant receptiveness toward the device. Methods Fifty participants were recruited to perform nine upper extremity exercises while wearing the device. Prior to exercise, participants completed an orientation of the device, which included examples of software graphics with exercise data. Surveys that measured receptiveness toward the device, software graphics, and ergonomics were given before and after exercise. Results Participants were highly receptive to the device with 90% of the participants likely to use the device during PT. Participants understood how the simple kinematic data could be used to aid exercise, but the data could be difficult to comprehend with more complex movements. Devices should incorporate wireless sensors and emphasize ease of wear. Conclusion Device-guided home physical rehabilitation can allow for individualized treatment protocols and improve exercise self-efficacy through kinematic analysis. Future studies should implement clinical testing to evaluate the impact a wearable device can have on rehabilitation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19020016
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalMethods of Information in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • biomechanics
  • exercise
  • inertial measurement units
  • rehabilitation
  • wearable device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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