Recently, with the development of artificial intelligence technologies and the popularity of mobile devices, walking detection and step counting have gained much attention since they play an important role in the fields of equipment positioning, saving energy, behavior recognition, etc. In this paper, a novel algorithm is proposed to simultaneously detect walking motion and count steps through unconstrained smartphones in the sense that the smartphone placement is not only arbitrary but also alterable. On account of the periodicity of the walking motion and sensitivity of gyroscopes, the proposed algorithm extracts the frequency domain features from three-dimensional (3D) angular velocities of a smartphone through FFT (fast Fourier transform) and identifies whether its holder is walking or not irrespective of its placement. Furthermore, the corresponding step frequency is recursively updated to evaluate the step count in real time. Extensive experiments are conducted by involving eight subjects and different walking scenarios in a realistic environment. It is shown that the proposed method achieves the precision of
and recall of
for walking detection, and its overall performance is significantly better than other well-known methods. Moreover, the accuracy of step counting by the proposed method is
, and is better than both of the several well-known counterparts and commercial products.
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