Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pokéwalker more accurate than other pedometers on a treadmill (study)

Study Finds Pokéwalker More Accurate Than Other Pedometers: "
Nintendo’s  HeartGold and SoulSilver Pokémon Pokéwalker, is a more accurate pedometer than regular pedometers, according to Lorraine Lanningham-Foster (Iowa State University). 

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilverImage via WikipediaAt the 2011 Experimental Biology conference in DC, she presented the accuracies of several pedometers of children and adults while walking on a treadmill at four different speeds.   

Kotaku points out that the research isn’t being funded by Nintendo, but by Iowa State’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center.

Study details:
Participants: 22 children, 8 adults
Walking speeds:  (1.5, 1.8, 2.1, and 2.5 mph for children, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 mph for adults)
Results: With the Pokewalker, the faster the treadmill speeds = lower amount of error. However, looking at the mean percent error is a little disconcerting (32% ± 23 at 1.5 mph, 12% ± 20 at 1.8 mph, 3.2% ± 5.6 at 2.1 mph, and 2.4% ± 4.2 at 2.5 mph). 

Points to Ponder (P2P)
  • Something I'll ask Lorraine is the placement of the PokeWalker.  I know it comes with a belt clip but I also know alot of kids put it in their pocket or back pack.  
  • It would also be interesting to see the results of free-living assessments or longer periods of time. 
  • Is the Pokewalker a piezoelectric device or an accelerometer?
  • The SenseWear Armband actually uses an accelerometer to assess steps and is placed on the back of the upper arm.  Given the discrepancies in the placement of each product - how does this impact the findings?

Lanningham-Foster, L, Foster, R, Barnes, M, Kracke, E, Kling, S, & Vik, M (2011). Step counts from two new systems during treadmill walking in children and adults The FASEB Journal, 25 (April)

Abstract included below:

Step counts from two new systems during treadmill walking in children and adults

Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Randal Foster, Megan Barnes, Elsa Kracke, Samantha Kling and Maren Vik
Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Purpose: To validate two new step-counting systems: Sensewear armband (SW) and the Pokewalker game device (PW) against a standard pedometer: DigiWalker (DW) and manual counting (MC).
Methods: Twenty-two children and eight adults were asked to walk at four speeds on a treadmill (1.5, 1.8, 2.1, and 2.5 mph for children, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 mph for adults) while their steps were counted by a trained observer. Percent error of steps was calculated between manual counts and each device for all speeds and assessed using unpaired t-tests. Values are presented as mean percent error ± SD.
RESULTS: In treadmill walking in children, the PW delivered the best results: 32 ± 23 at 1.5 mph, 12 ± 20 at 1.8 mph, 3.2 ± 5.6 at 2.1 mph, and 2.4 ± 4.2 at 2.5 mph, P<0.0005 for all comparisons, whereas error of the DW was between 63 ± 25 and 19 ± 19 and the error of the SW was between 47 ± 31 and 26 ± 28. In adults, the picture was more complicated due to a high degree of variability affecting the ability of significance testing in the DW and SW data. However, the PW had very low average error at higher treadmill speeds: 2.6 ± 2.1 at 2.5 mph and 1.9 ± 0.81 at 3 mph (P < 0.05) whereas the DW and SW did not have errors lower than 18 ± 18.
Conclusion: All devices showed a high degree of error compared to manual counting at slower speeds, but the PW had a substantially reduced error as walking speed increased. This study was funded through a grant from the ISU Nutrition and Wellness Research Center.

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  1. Thank you for sharing, Steve. Your p2p is great. I also wonder what age group children she used and why would Pokéwalker worked the best for children even better than standard pedemeters? Very interesting!

  2. Good point Sarang. Given the high variability at the slower speeds - would the results have been different if they had tested more children. I also wonder why they had such high error rates in the adults wearing SW and DW.


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