Automating the timed up and go test (tug test) with wearable sensors

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University of New Brunswick


The timed-up-and-go (TUG) test is widely used in clinical practice for assessing mobility and fall risk in seniors. A stop watch is normally used to measure the total time required to rise from a chair, walk a short distance, turn, walk back to the chair, and return to a seated position. The time required to perform the various motor tasks or “phases” of the TUG (chair activity, walking and turning) are rarely if ever measured. Ability to quantify performance on the TUG motor tasks could greatly improve the clinical utility of the test. This thesis validated a TUG “phase” detection algorithm using TUG test data from a wearable inertial sensor against a Vicon T160 optoelectronic motion capture system. Accuracy of detection of six phases of the TUG was within +/-.5s. The results suggest a wearable sensor can add considerable value to the clinical TUG.