A support vector machine algorithm can successfully classify running ability when trained with wearable sensor data from anatomical locations typical of consumer technology

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Abstract

Greater understanding of differences in technique between runners may allow more beneficial feedback related to improving performance and decreasing injury risk. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a support vector machine classifier, which could automatically differentiate running technique between experienced and novice participants using only wearable sensor data. Three-dimensional linear accelerations and angular velocities were collected from six wearable sensors secured to current common smart device locations. Cross-validation was used to test the classification accuracy of models trained with a variety of combinations of sensor locations, with participants running at different speeds. Average classification accuracies ranged from 71.3% to 98.4% across the sensor combinations and running speeds tested. Models trained with only a single sensor location still showed effective classification. With the models trained with only upper arm data achieving an average accuracy of 96.4% across all tested running speeds. A post-hoc comparison of biomechanical variables between the two subgroups showed significant differences in upper body biomechanics throughout the stride. Both the methodology used to perform the classifications and the biomechanical differences identified could prove useful when aiming to shift a novice runner’s technique towards movement patterns more akin to those with greater experience.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberRSPB 2027509
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalSports Biomechanics
Early online date20 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • running biomechanics
  • machine learning
  • inertial measurement unit
  • gait analysis

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