New paper on walking activity recognition

Check out our newly published research which presents a unified framework to perform walking activity recognition from rotation time series collected by a wearable sensor in a free-living environment.

rotation-valued functional data
machine learning

Department of Mathematics Jean Leray, UMR CNRS 6629


May 9, 2022

Solutions to assess walking deficiencies are widespread and largely used in healthcare. Wearable sensors are particularly appealing, as they offer the possibility to monitor gait in everyday life, outside a facility in which the context of evaluation biases the measure. While some wearable sensors are powerful enough to integrate complex walking activity recognition models, non-invasive lightweight sensors do not always have the computing or memory capacity to run them. In this paper, we propose a walking activity recognition model that offers a viable solution to this problem for any wearable sensors that measure rotational motion of body parts. Specifically, the model was trained and tuned using data collected by a motion sensor in the form of a unit quaternion time series recording the hip rotation over time.

This time series was then transformed into a real-valued time series of geodesic distances between consecutive quaternions. Moving average and moving standard deviation versions of this time series were fed to standard machine learning classification algorithms. To compare the different models, we used metrics to assess classification performance (precision and accuracy) while maintaining the detection prevalence at the level of the prevalence of walking activities in the data, as well as metrics to assess change point detection capability and computation time. Our results suggest that the walking activity recognition model with a decision tree classifier yields the best compromise in terms of precision and computation time.

The sensor that was used had purposely low computing and memory capacity so that reported performances can be thought of as the lower bounds of what can be achieved. Walking activity recognition is performed online, i.e., on-the-fly, which further extends the range of applicability of our model to sensors with very low memory capacity.

Find out more by reading our paper (Brard et al. 2022) which can be found at


Brard, Raphaël, Lise Bellanger, Laurent Chevreuil, Fanny Doistau, Pierre Drouin, and Aymeric Stamm. 2022. “A Novel Walking Activity Recognition Model for Rotation Time Series Collected by a Wearable Sensor in a Free-Living Environment.” Sensors 1.