Estimation of the energy expenditure of a person by means of an acceleration sensor platform

Christopher Hofer

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


Physical inactivity becomes increasingly an issue in our society. Because of modernizations in everyday life, physical activity becomes unnecessary in many stituations. As a consequence, the society is liable to illnesses, especially the cardiovascular system is involved. This loss does not only reflect socially but also economically and in addition it burdens the public health insurance companies.

In this thesis, a method for determining the physical activity is presented. This approach is based on the measurement of the body acceleration with the aid of an acceleration unit.

By use of mathematic approaches the speed of movements of the proband is calculated. Subsequently, the consumed energy of the test person is determined with the modified Goldman equation. For these calculation steps, a system has been developed. This system consists of a sensor platform with an integrated acceleration unit and an external GPS-module.

The implementation of an adequate evaluation algorithm, the frictionless communication of each component and initial tests were aims of this master thesis.

In a first treadmill testing phase could be shown, that the speed of movement can be calculated precisely with individual calibration of the calculation coefficients. The determination of the current altitude with the aid of the GPS-module works only insufficiently accurately and

leads at slight altitude changes to large fluctuations.

For further development steps, the reception and the evaluation algorithm of the GPS-module have to be improved. In order to determine the current altitude, a pressure sensor should be tied to the existing system. The altitude information, resting upon the GPS- and pressure sensor data, could be – dependent on the GPS signal quality – included in the calculation. For the purpose of increasing the acceptance of the system and to reduce the complexity of the equiptional effort, further approaches, e. g. a LAN bridge, should be realized. In addition, the efficiency factor, which is used for the calculation of the consumed energy basing on the Goldman equation, should

be adjusted to the individual cardiac output.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • Graz University of Technology (90000)
  • Scharfetter, Hermann, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • acceleration unit
  • GPS-module
  • energy calculation
  • Goldman equation
  • evaluation algorithm


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