The Feasibility of Ambulatory Physical Activity Monitoring Devices in Studies on Soldiers

Thomas, Wyss; Lilian, Roos; Karl, Friedl; Mark, Buller; Simon K., Delves; Bertil, Veenstra (26 July 2019). The Feasibility of Ambulatory Physical Activity Monitoring Devices in Studies on Soldiers (Unpublished). In: ICAMPAM. Maastricht, Netherlands. 26.07.2019.

Introduction Today’s Armed Forces are using data about their soldiers’ physical demands for decision making processes, injury and dropout prevention and training quality management. Increasing amounts of monitors, which can be used for this purpose, are becoming available. To choose the most appropriate device, information about the measurement accuracy, wearing comfort and feasibility is key. It was the aim of an international collaboration study, within the NATO panel HFM 260, to investigate these parameters for different devices used in military organizations worldwide to assess heart rate (HR) and energy expenditure (EE) among soldiers. On the present poster, data on the feasibility part are presented. Method The investigated monitoring devices are shown in Figure 1. Presented data are based on the hard- and software versions available as of January 11th 2017. Human resources were determined by the average time needed for sensor preparation, calibration, fitting on subject, data download and export. Wearing comfort was assessed among 32 volunteers from a Swiss Army infantry training school by questionnaire after wearing each system for one working day, as approved by the local ethics committee (Beeler et al. 2018). For determination of the devices’ measurement time, an epoch time of 30 seconds was set. It was noted if the systems were able to provide real-time data synchronization with a receiver system within a 30 m range, and if they provided raw data. The devices were ranked by their values within each assessed category. The strength and weaknesses of each system are displayed in radar charts (Figure 2). Results The GENEActive device (208 USD and 2 min per subject) needed the fewest monetary and human resources, followed by f?nix 3, Axiamote and Everion (449 to 820 USD and 5-11 min per subject). The most cost and time expensive devices were ActiHeart, EQO2 and Blue Thunder (1054 to 1533 USD and 13 to 22 min per subject). Wearing comfort was rated highest in Axiamote followed by f?nix 3, Everion and ActiHeart. ActiHeart, Aximote and GENEActive provided a measurement duration of 7 days or more. EQO2 and Everion provided a measurement duration of at least 24 hours, while f?nix 3 and Blue Thunder batteries lasted only 20 and 6 hours, respectively. In EQO2, Everion and Blue Thunder real-time tracking with a receiver system on site was available. Only f?nix 3 and ActiHeart did not provide raw data. The greatest overall feasibility score was found in Everion, Axiamote and GENEActive with 16 to 18 ranking points compared to 26 to 30 ranking points in the other devices (Figure 2). Discussion Together with information about measurement accuracy of such monitoring devices, the present study helps decision makers to choose appropriate systems for ambulatory physical activity monitoring in soldiers. However, they have to keep in mind, that hard- and software of the investigated devices might have changed since January 2017 and newer measurement systems are now available on the market. Reference Beeler, N., Roos, L., Delves, SK., Veenstra, BJ., Friedl, K., Buller, MJ., and Wyss, T. (2018). The Wearing Comfort and Acceptability of Ambulatory Physical Activity Monitoring Devices in Soldiers. IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM


Thomas, Wyss;
Lilian, Roos;
Karl, Friedl;
Mark, Buller;
Simon K., Delves and
Bertil, Veenstra




Service Account

Date Deposited:

12 Oct 2022 08:34

Last Modified:

12 Oct 2022 08:34


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