An Analysis on Sensor Locations of the Human Body for Wearable Fall Detection Devices: Principles and Practice


SENSORS, vol.16, no.8, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/s16081161
  • Journal Name: SENSORS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: fall detection, wearable motion sensors, sensor placement, elderly people, machine learning techniques, classification, feature extraction and reduction
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Wearable devices for fall detection have received attention in academia and industry, because falls are very dangerous, especially for elderly people, and if immediate aid is not provided, it may result in death. However, some predictive devices are not easily worn by elderly people. In this work, a huge dataset, including 2520 tests, is employed to determine the best sensor placement location on the body and to reduce the number of sensor nodes for device ergonomics. During the tests, the volunteer's movements are recorded with six groups of sensors each with a triaxial (accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer) sensor, which is placed tightly on different parts of the body with special straps: head, chest, waist, right-wrist, right-thigh and right-ankle. The accuracy of individual sensor groups with their location is investigated with six machine learning techniques, namely the k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) classifier, Bayesian decision making (BDM), support vector machines (SVM), least squares method (LSM), dynamic time warping (DTW) and artificial neural networks (ANNs). Each technique is applied to single, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple and sextuple sensor configurations. These configurations create 63 different combinations, and for six machine learning techniques, a total of 63 x 6 = 378 combinations is investigated. As a result, the waist region is found to be the most suitable location for sensor placement on the body with 99.96% fall detection sensitivity by using the k-NN classifier, whereas the best sensitivity achieved by the wrist sensor is 97.37%, despite this location being highly preferred for today's wearable applications.