Wearable monitoring of seated spinal posture

Lucy E. Dunne, Pauline Walsh, Sonja Hermann, Barry Smyth, Brian Caulfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This work describes the evaluation of a wearable plastic optical fiber (POF) sensor for monitoring seated spinal posture, as compared to a conventional expert visual analysis, and the development of a field-deployable posture monitoring system. A garment-integrated POF sensor was developed and tested on nine healthy subjects. Data from the wearable sensor were compared to data taken simultaneously from a marker-based motion capture system, for accuracy and reliability. Peak analysis of the resulting data showed a mean time error of 0.53 ± 0.8 s, and a mean value error of 0.64 ± 3.1 deg, which represents 14.5% of the average range of motion. Expert determination of transitional (good to bad) posture showed a variation of 20.9% of range of motion. These results indicate that the wearable sensor approximates the accuracy of expert visual analysis, and provides sufficient accuracy of measurement to reliably monitor seated spinal posture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received June 8, 2007; revised November 13, 2007 and February 6, 2008. First published July 25, 2008; current version published September 10, 2008. This work was supported in part by Enterprise Ireland under Grant EIPC/2006/32, by UCD Seed Funding under Grant SF-020, and by Science Foundation Ireland under Grant 03/IN.3/I361. This paper was recommended by Associate Editor S. Leonhardt.


  • Posture
  • Wearable sensors
  • Wearable technology


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