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Journal Article


Jackermeier R, Ludwig B. Sensors (Basel) 2021; 21(9).


(Copyright © 2021, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






In smartphone-based pedestrian navigation systems, detailed knowledge about user activity and device placement is a key information. Landmarks such as staircases or elevators can help the system in determining the user position when located inside buildings, and navigation instructions can be adapted to the current context in order to provide more meaningful assistance. Typically, most human activity recognition (HAR) approaches distinguish between general activities such as walking, standing or sitting. In this work, we investigate more specific activities that are tailored towards the use-case of pedestrian navigation, including different kinds of stationary and locomotion behavior. We first collect a dataset of 28 combinations of device placements and activities, in total consisting of over 6 h of data from three sensors. We then use LSTM-based machine learning (ML) methods to successfully train hierarchical classifiers that can distinguish between these placements and activities. Test results show that the accuracy of device placement classification (97.2%) is on par with a state-of-the-art benchmark in this dataset while being less resource-intensive on mobile devices. Activity recognition performance highly depends on the classification task and ranges from 62.6% to 98.7%, once again performing close to the benchmark. Finally, we demonstrate in a case study how to apply the hierarchical classifiers to experimental and naturalistic datasets in order to analyze activity patterns during the course of a typical navigation session and to investigate the correlation between user activity and device placement, thereby gaining insights into real-world navigation behavior.

Language: en


machine learning; activity recognition; naturalistic data; pedestrian navigation; smartphone


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