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Phys Ther Rev. 2010 Dec;15(6):462-473.

The use of inertial sensors system for human motion analysis.

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Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malaga, Spain.



The aim of this article is to review systematically and appraise critically the literature surrounding the research, comparing inertial sensors with any kind of gold standard; this gold standard has to be a tool for measuring human movement (e.g. electrogoniometry, optoelectronic systems, electromagnetic systems, etc.).


A MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDRo and SCOPUS search of published English language articles was conducted, which focused on articles that compared inertial sensors to any kind of gold standard (e.g. electrogoniometry, optoelectronic systems, electromagnetic systems, etc.), from 2000 to 2010. Two independent reviewers completed the study selection, quality appraisal and data extraction. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Español tool was used to assess study quality, and a reliability comparison between the systems was made.


Fourteen out of 242 articles were reviewed, which displayed a similar threat to validity, relating to sample selection and operator blinding. Other study limitations are discussed. A comparison between the different systems showed good agreement across a range of tasks and anatomical regions.


This review concludes that inertial sensors can offer an accurate and reliable method to study human motion, but the degree of accuracy and reliability is site and task specific.


Inertial sensors; Motion analysis; Review

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