Micro technology is affordable, unobtrusive, easy to use and offers a practical way to monitor human movement. Micro technology can assist in enhancing the understanding of specific movement patterns, and can monitor discrete changes in angular rate of change, absolute segment or relative angles, acceleration, distance and timing. Only very recently (past 4 years) has this technology been considered for monitoring lifting applications. Although there are only a small number of studies in this field, inertial sensors with built in accelerometers and gyroscopes are an emerging strategy to accurately monitor safe lifting practices. Lifting involves performing a lifting, pulling or pushing related movement, also known as a resistance exercise.
If a resistance exercise is not performed with correct technique, it greatly increases the risk of sustaining acute or chronic injuries. With the use of inertial sensors, resistance exercises can be monitored for the early identification of injury risks. Inertial sensors have the capability to monitor the most important measurable variables that determine the quality, and hence the safety of a resistance exercise.
This is a valuable tool in areas of society such as professional sport, recreational exercise, and the workplace. In the workplace, inertial sensors could offer valuable information to employers, such as limits of fatigue, limits of heavy loads, early identification of lifting risks, and safe movement training. Furthermore, inertial sensors can monitor resistance exercises specific to the occupation and movement. Therefore they may offer an affordable method to decrease the rate of workplace injuries due to lifting.
In professional sports and recreational exercise, monitoring lifting patterns has a high potential to decrease injury risks (similarly to workplace applications), and increase sporting performance. Inertial sensors are accurate and consistent, offering a valuable tool for coaches to monitor athletes technique in any specified resistance exercise, or to help those who may not be able to afford the support of healthcare professionals.