Toward Practical, In-The-Wild, and Reusable Wearable Activity Classification

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Virginia Tech

Wearable activity classifiers, so far, have been able to perform well with simple activities, strictly-scripted activities, and application-specific activities. In addition, current classification systems suffer from using impractical tight-fitting sensor networks, or only use one loose-fitting sensor node that cannot capture much movement information (e.g., smartphone sensors and wrist-worn sensors). These classifiers either do not address the bigger picture of making activity recognition more practical and being able to recognize more complex and naturalistic activities, or try to address this issue but still perform poorly on many fronts.

This dissertation works toward having practical, in-the-wild, and reusable wearable activity classifiers by taking several steps that include the four following main contributions. The dissertation starts by quantifying users' needs and expectations from wearable activity classifiers to set a framework for designing ideal wearable activity classifiers. Data collected from user studies and interviews is gathered and analyzed, then several conclusions are made to set a framework of essential characteristics that ideal wearable activity classification systems should have. Afterwards, this dissertation introduces a group of datasets that can be used to benchmark different types of activity classifiers and can accommodate for a variety of goals. These datasets help comparing different algorithms in activity classification to assess their performance under various circumstances and with different types of activities. The third main contribution consists of developing a technique that can classify complex activities with wide variations.

Testing this technique shows that it is able to accurately classify eight complex daily-life activities with wide variations at an accuracy rate of 93.33%, significantly outperforming the state-of-the-art. This technique is a step forward toward classifying real-life natural activities performed in an environment that allows for wide variations within the activity. Finally, this dissertation introduces a method that can be used on top of any activity classifier that allows access to its matching scores in order to improve its classification accuracy. Testing this method shows that it improves classification results by 11.86% and outperforms the state-of-the-art, therefore taking a step forward toward having reusable activity classification techniques that can be used across users, sensor domains, garments, and applications.

Wearable Activity Classification, Lowest Cumulative Cost Activity Sequence, Classifier for Activities with Variations, Complex Activities, Datasets