Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 95–114 | Cite as

Detecting gait-related health problems of the elderly using multidimensional dynamic time warping approach with semantic attributes

  • Bogdan Pogorelc
  • Matjaž Gams


We present a health-monitoring system based on the multidimensional dynamic time warping approach with semantic attributes for the detection of health problems in the elderly to prolong their autonomous living. The movement of the elderly user is captured with a motion-capture system that consists of body-worn tags, whose coordinates are acquired by sensors located in an apartment. The output time series of the coordinates are modeled with the proposed data-mining approach in order to recognize the specific health problem of an elderly person. This paper is an extension of our previous study, which proposed four data mining approaches to recognition of health problems, falls and activities of elderly from their motion patterns. The most successful of the four approaches is SMDTW (Multidimensional dynamic time-warping approach with semantic attributes), whose version is used and thoroughly analyzed in this paper. SMDTW is the modification of the DTW algorithm to use with the multidimensional time series with semantic attributes. To test the robustness of the SMDTW approach, this study calculates the DTW on the time series of various lengths. The semantic attributes presented here consist of the joint angles that are able to recognize many types of movement, e.g., health problems, falls and activities, in contrast to the more specific approaches with specific medically defined attributes from the literature. The k-nearest-neighbor classifier using SMDTW as a distance measure classifies movement of an elderly person into five different health states: one healthy and four unhealthy. Even though the new approach is more general and can be used to differentiate other types of activities or health problems, it achieves very high classification accuracy of 97.2%, comparable to the more specific approaches.


Health-problems detection Human-motion analysis Gait analysis Machine learning Data mining Temporal data mining Time-series data mining Human locomotion Elderly care Ambient assisted living Ambient media Ambient intelligence Ubiquitous computing Pervasive health 



This work is partially financed by the European Union, the European Social Fund. The authors thank Martin Tomšič, Bojan Nemec and Leon Žlajpah for their help with data acquisition, and Anton Gradišek for his medical expertise.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jožef Stefan Institute, Department of Intelligent SystemsLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate SchoolLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Špica International d. o. o.LjubljanaSlovenia

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