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Open AccessArticle

Using Wearable Accelerometers in a Community Service Context to Categorize Falling Behavior

Department of Industrial Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 43, Section 4, Keelung Road, Da’an District, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Yuan Ze University, 135 Yuan Tung Road, Chungli District, Taoyuan 320, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anne Humeau-Heurtier
Entropy 2016, 18(7), 257;
Received: 18 May 2016 / Revised: 5 July 2016 / Accepted: 5 July 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiscale Entropy and Its Applications in Medicine and Biology)
In this paper, the Multiscale Entropy (MSE) analysis of acceleration data collected from a wearable inertial sensor was compared with other features reported in the literature to observe falling behavior from the acceleration data, and traditional clinical scales to evaluate falling behavior. We use a fall risk assessment over a four-month period to examine >65 year old participants in a community service context using simple clinical tests, including the Short Form Berg Balance Scale (SFBBS), Timed Up and Go test (TUG), and the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ), with wearable accelerometers for the TUG test. We classified participants into fallers and non-fallers to (1) compare the features extracted from the accelerometers and (2) categorize fall risk using statistics from TUG test results. Combined, TUG and SFBBS results revealed defining features were test time, Slope(A) and slope(B) in Sit(A)-to-stand(B), and range(A) and slope(B) in Stand(B)-to-sit(A). Of (1) SPMSQ; (2) TUG and SPMSQ; and (3) BBS and SPMSQ results, only range(A) in Stand(B)-to-sit(A) was a defining feature. From MSE indicators, we found that whether in the X, Y or Z direction, TUG, BBS, and the combined TUG and SFBBS are all distinguishable, showing that MSE can effectively classify participants in these clinical tests using behavioral actions. This study highlights the advantages of body-worn sensors as ordinary and low cost tools available outside the laboratory. The results indicated that MSE analysis of acceleration data can be used as an effective metric to categorize falling behavior of community-dwelling elderly. In addition to clinical application, (1) our approach requires no expert physical therapist, nurse, or doctor for evaluations and (2) fallers can be categorized irrespective of the critical value from clinical tests. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-scale entropy; complexity; wearable accelerometers; falling; community service multi-scale entropy; complexity; wearable accelerometers; falling; community service
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Lee, C.-H.; Sun, T.-L.; Jiang, B.C.; Choi, V.H. Using Wearable Accelerometers in a Community Service Context to Categorize Falling Behavior. Entropy 2016, 18, 257.

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