Preferred Placement and Usability of a Smart Textile System vs. Inertial Measurement Units for Activity Monitoring
Wearable sensors and systems have become increasingly popular in recent years. Two prominent wearable technologies for human activity monitoring are smart textile systems (STSs) and inertial measurement units (IMUs). Despite ongoing advances in both, the usability aspects of these devices require further investigation, especially to facilitate future use. In this study, 18 participants evaluate the preferred placement and usability of two STSs, along with a comparison to a commercial IMU system. These evaluations are completed after participants engaged in a range of activities (e.g., sitting, standing, walking, and running), during which they wear two representatives of smart textile systems: (1) a custom smart undershirt (SUS) and commercial smart socks; and (2) a commercial whole-body IMU system. We first analyze responses regarding the usability of the STS, and subsequently compared these results to those for the IMU system. Participants identify a short-sleeved shirt as their preferred activity monitor. In additional, the SUS in combination with the smart socks is rated superior to the IMU system in several aspects of usability. As reported herein, STSs show promise for future applications in human activity monitoring in terms of usability.