Sensors, Vol. 19, Pages 1885: Validity of Wearable Sensors at the Shoulder Joint: Combining Wireless Electromyography Sensors and Inertial Measurement Units to Perform Physical Workplace Assessments (Sensors)
Background: Workplace adaptation is the preferred method of intervention to diminish risk factors associated with the development of work-related shoulder disorders. However, the majority of the workplace assessments performed are subjective (e.g., questionnaires). Quantitative assessments are required to support workplace adaptations. The aims of this study are to assess the concurrent validity of inertial measurement units (IMUs; MVN, Xsens) in comparison to a motion capture system (Vicon) during lifting tasks, and establish the discriminative validity of a wireless electromyography (EMG) system for the evaluation of muscle activity. Methods: Sixteen participants performed 12 simple tasks (shoulder flexion, abduction, scaption) and 16 complex lifting tasks (lifting crates of different weights at different heights). A Delsys Trigno EMG system was used to record anterior and middle deltoids’ EMG activity, while the Xsens and Vicon simultaneously recorded shoulder kinematics. Results: For IMUs, correlation coefficients were high (simple task: >0.968; complex task: >0.84) and RMSEs were low (simple task: <6.72°; complex task: <11.5°). For EMG, a significant effect of weight, height and a weight x height interaction (anterior: p < 0.001; middle: p < 0.03) were observed for RMS EMG activity. Conclusions: These results suggest that wireless EMG and IMUs are valid units that can be used to measure physical demand in workplace assessments.