Scientists have invented a new algorithm that empowers smartwatches to detect and record your every move, without being told beforehand what to look for. Current smartwatches can recognize a limited number of particular activities, including yoga and running, but these are programmed in advance.
This new method, scheduled to be presented at International Symposium on Wearable Computers to be held in Hawaii from September 11-15 enables the technology to discover activities as they happen, not just simply when exercising, but also when brushing your teeth or cutting vegetables. The algorithm can even track sedentary activity, for instance, whether you are sitting or lying down.
“Current activity-recognition systems usually fail because they are limited to recognizing a predefined set of activities, whereas of course human activities are not limited and change with time,” said Hristijan Gjoreski of university of Sussex in Britain. “Here we present a new machine-learning approach that detects new human activities as they happen in real time, and which outperforms competing approaches,”Gjoreski said. “Traditional models ‘ cluster’ together bursts of activity to estimate what a person has been doing, and for how long. ALSO READ: Researchers develop biofuel cells that extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices
For example, a series of continuous steps may be clustered into a walk. Where they falter is that they do not account for pauses or interruptions in the activity, and, so, a walk interrupted with two short stops would be clustered into three separate walks. The new algorithm tracks ongoing activity, paying close attention to transitioning, as well as the activity itself.