The contribution of machine learning in the validation of commercial wearable sensors for gait monitoring in patients: A systematic review

Théo Jourdan, Noëlie Debs, Carole Frindel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Gait, balance, and coordination are important in the development of chronic disease, but the ability to accurately assess these in the daily lives of patients may be limited by traditional biased assessment tools. Wearable sensors offer the possibility of minimizing the main limitations of traditional assessment tools by generating quantitative data on a regular basis, which can greatly improve the home monitoring of patients. However, these commercial sensors must be validated in this context with rigorous validation methods. This scoping review summarizes the state-of-the-art between 2010 and 2020 in terms of the use of commercial wearable devices for gait monitoring in patients. For this specific period, 10 databases were searched and 564 records were retrieved from the associated search. This scoping review included 70 studies investigating one or more wearable sensors used to automatically track patient gait in the field. The majority of studies (95%) utilized accelerometers either by itself (N = 17 of 70) or embedded into a device (N = 57 of 70) and/or gyroscopes (51%) to automatically monitor gait via wearable sensors. All of the studies (N = 70) used one or more validation methods in which “ground truth” data were reported. Regarding the validation of wearable sensors, studies using machine learning have become more numerous since 2010, at 17% of included studies. This scoping review highlights the current state of the ability of commercial sensors to enhance traditional methods of gait assessment by passively monitoring gait in daily life, over long periods of time, and with minimal user interaction. Considering our review of the last 10 years in this field, machine learning approaches are algorithms to be considered for the future. These are in fact data-based approaches which, as long as the data collected are numerous, annotated, and representative, allow for the training of an effective model. In this context, commercial wearable sensors allowing for increased data collection and good patient adherence through efforts of miniaturization, energy consumption, and comfort will contribute to its future success.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4808
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic pathology
  • Gait
  • Gold standard
  • Machine learning
  • Systematic review
  • Tracker
  • Validation
  • Wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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