Unsupervised IMU-based evaluation of at-home exercise programmes: a feasibility study

Sokratis Komaris*, Georgia Tarfali, Brendan O’Flynn, Salvatore Tedesco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The benefits to be obtained from home-based physical therapy programmes are dependent on the proper execution of physiotherapy exercises during unsupervised treatment. Wearable sensors and appropriate movement-related metrics may be used to determine at-home exercise performance and compliance to a physical therapy program. Methods: A total of thirty healthy volunteers (mean age of 31 years) had their movements captured using wearable inertial measurement units (IMUs), after video recordings of five different exercises with varying levels of complexity were demonstrated to them. Participants were then given wearable sensors to enable a second unsupervised data capture at home. Movement performance between the participants’ recordings was assessed with metrics of movement smoothness, intensity, consistency and control. Results: In general, subjects executed all exercises similarly when recording at home and as compared with their performance in the lab. However, participants executed all movements faster compared to the physiotherapist’s demonstrations, indicating the need of a wearable system with user feedback that will set the pace of movement. Conclusion: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the imperative transition towards remote consultation and tele-rehabilitation, this work aims to promote new tools and methods for the assessment of adherence to home-based physical therapy programmes. The studied IMU-derived features have shown adequate sensitivity to evaluate home-based programmes in an unsupervised manner. Cost-effective wearables, such as the one presented in this study, can support therapeutic exercises that ought to be performed with appropriate speed, intensity, smoothness and range of motion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under Grant numbers 12/RC/2289-P2 (INSIGHT), 13/RC/2077 (CONNECT) and 16/RC/3918 (CONFIRM) which are co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


  • Accelerometer
  • Exercise adherence
  • Movement quality
  • Performance assessment


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