Recognition of body posture and motion is an important physiological function that can keep the body in balance. Man-made motion sensors have also been widely applied for a broad array of biomedical applications including diagnosis of balance disorders and evaluation of energy expenditure. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art sensing components utilized for body motion measurement. The anatomy and working principles of a natural body motion sensor, the human vestibular system, are first described. Various man-made inertial sensors are then elaborated based on their distinctive sensing mechanisms. In particular, both the conventional solid-state motion sensors and the emerging non solid-state motion sensors are depicted. With their lower cost and increased intelligence, man-made motion sensors are expected to play an increasingly important role in biomedical systems for basic research as well as clinical diagnostics.
This article was published online in Sensors (Basel, Switzerland) and is free to access.