Subject-specific and group-based running pattern classification using a single wearable sensor
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The objective of this study was to determine whether subject-specific or group-based models provided better classification accuracy to identify changes in biomechanical running gait patterns across different inclination conditions. The classification process was based on measurements from a single wearable sensor using a total of 41,780 strides from eleven recreational runners while running in real-world and uncontrolled environment. Biomechanical variables included pelvic drop, ground contact time, braking, vertical oscillation of pelvis, pelvic rotation, and cadence were recorded during running on three inclination grades: downhill, -2° to -7°; level, -0.2° to +0.2°; and uphill, +2° to +7°. An ensemble and non-linear machine learning algorithm, random forest (RF), was used to classify inclination condition and determine the importance of each of the biomechanical variables. Classification accuracy was determined for subject-specific and group-based RF models. The mean classification accuracy of all subject-specific RF models was 86.29%, while group-based classification accuracy was 76.17%. Braking was identified as the most important variable for all the runners using the group-based model and for most of the runners based on a subject-specific models. In addition, individual runners used different strategies across different inclination conditions and the ranked order of variable importance was unique for each runner. These results demonstrate that subject-specific models can better characterize changes in gait biomechanical patterns compared to a more traditional group-based approach.
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