An Algorithm to Classify Real-World Ambulatory Status From a Wearable Device Using Multimodal and Demographically Diverse Data: Validation Study

Journal Article

Background Measuring the amount of physical activity and its patterns using wearable sensor technology in real-world settings can provide critical insights into health status. Objective This study’s aim was to develop and evaluate the analytical validity and transdemographic generalizability of an algorithm that classifies binary ambulatory status (yes or no) on the accelerometer signal from wrist-worn biometric monitoring technology. Methods Biometric monitoring technology algorithm validation traditionally relies on large numbers of self-reported labels or on periods of high-resolution monitoring with reference devices. We used both methods on data collected from 2 distinct studies for algorithm training and testing, one with precise ground-truth labels from a reference device (n=75) and the second with participant-reported ground-truth labels from a more diverse, larger sample (n=1691); in total, we collected data from 16.7 million 10-second epochs. We trained a neural network on a combined data set and measured performance in multiple held-out testing data sets, overall and in demographically stratified subgroups. Results The algorithm was accurate at classifying ambulatory status in 10-second epochs (area under the curve 0.938; 95% CI 0.921-0.958) and on daily aggregate metrics (daily mean absolute percentage error 18%; 95% CI 15%-20%) without significant performance differences across subgroups. Conclusions Our algorithm can accurately classify ambulatory status with a wrist-worn device in real-world settings with generalizability across demographic subgroups. The validated algorithm can effectively quantify users’ walking activity and help researchers gain insights on users’ health status.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Popham, S; Burq, M; Rainaldi, EE; Shin, S; Dunn, J; Kapur, R

Published Date

  • March 7, 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 /

Start / End Page

  • e43726 - e43726

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2561-3278

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2196/43726


  • en