A novel acquisition platform for long-term breathing frequency monitoring based on inertial measurement units

Ambra Cesareo, Emilia Biffi, David Cuesta-Frau, Maria G. D’Angelo, Andrea Aliverti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuous monitoring of breathing frequency (fB) could foster early prediction of adverse clinical effects and exacerbation of medical conditions. Current solutions are invasive or obtrusive and thus not suitable for prolonged monitoring outside the clinical setting. Previous studies demonstrated the feasibility of deriving fB by measuring inclination changes due to breathing using accelerometers or inertial measurement units (IMU). Nevertheless, few studies faced the problem of motion artifacts that limit the use of IMU-based systems for continuous monitoring. Moreover, few attempts have been made to move towards real portability and wearability of such devices. This paper proposes a wearable IMU-based device that communicates via Bluetooth with a smartphone, uploading data on a web server to allow remote monitoring. Two IMU units are placed on thorax and abdomen to record breathing-related movements, while a third IMU unit records body/trunk motion and is used as reference. The performance of the proposed system was evaluated in terms of long-acquisition-platform reliability showing good performances in terms of duration and data loss amount. The device was preliminarily tested in terms of accuracy in breathing temporal parameter measurement, in static condition, during postural changes, and during slight indoor activities showing favorable comparison against the reference methods (mean error breathing frequency < 5%). [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-804
Number of pages20
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Mobile health units
  • Monitoring, physiologic
  • Optoelectronic plethysmography
  • Respiration
  • Wearable electronic devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A novel acquisition platform for long-term breathing frequency monitoring based on inertial measurement units'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this