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Physiol Behav. 2017 Oct 1;179:208-212. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.06.019. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Calibration and validation processes for relative humidity measurement by a Hygrochron iButton.

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Exercise, Heath & Performance Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:
Exercise, Heath & Performance Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia.
Australian Wool Innovation Limited, The Woolmark Company, Australia.


Accurate relative humidity (RH) measurement is demanded in studies of thermal comfort. Thermal discomfort occurs when the near-to-skin temperature or RH is outside of the thermal comfort zone. The Hygrochron, a small wireless device which measures both temperature and RH, would be suitable and convenient in exercise or sleep studies. However, the RH measurement has not been validated. This paper has three parts. Part 1: In evaluating the sensor surface for RH detection, four Hygrochrons were placed on a wet paper towel. Two were placed on the towel with the protruding surface facing up and the other two facing down. The results showed that the Hygrochron with the protruding side was the sensor surface for detecting RH. Part 2: Twenty-seven Hygrochrons were calibrated in a humidity calibration chamber at a RH range from 40 to 90% at a constant temperature from 32 to 37°C. The mean bias was -1.08% between the Hygrochrons and the calibration chamber. The Hygrochron overestimated RH at the lower range (40-60%) and underestimated RH at the higher range (80-90%). The application of individual regression equations to each Hygrochron improved accuracy and reduced the mean bias to -0.002%. However, one Hygrochron showed outlier values that may be due to a manufacturing defect. Part 3: The reproducibility of Hygrochron for RH measurements was tested twice at the same condition of 35°C over a three-month interval. The intra-class coefficient was 0.996 to 1.000 with non-significant differences in the mean RH between test and re-test results (p=0.159). Hygrochrons are valid for RH measurements which show high reproducibility. It is recommended that Hygrochrons be calibrated over a range of desired RH and temperature prior to use to improve accuracy and detect any manufacturing defects.


Calibration; Relative humidity measurement; Reproducibility; Validation; iButton

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