• Vol 8, No 5 (2017)
  • Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering

Recognizing Complex Human Activities using Hybrid Feature Selections based on an Accelerometer Sensor

M.N.Shah Zainudin, Md Nasir Sulaiman, Norwati Mustapha, Thinagaran Perumal, Raihani Mohamed


Publish at : 31 Oct 2017 - 00:00
IJtech : IJtech Vol 8, No 5 (2017)
DOI : https://doi.org/10.14716/ijtech.v8i5.879

Cite this article as:
Zainudin, M..., Sulaiman, M.N.., Mustapha, N.., Perumal, T.., Mohamed, R.., 2017. Recognizing Complex Human Activities using Hybrid Feature Selections based on an Accelerometer Sensor. International Journal of Technology. Volume 8(5), pp.968-978
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M.N.Shah Zainudin Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. Faculty of Electronics and Computer Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia
Md Nasir Sulaiman Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Norwati Mustapha Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Thinagaran Perumal Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Raihani Mohamed Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Email to Corresponding Author

Abstract

Wearable sensor technology is evolving in parallel with the demand for human activity monitoring applications. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the percentage of health problems occurring in the world population, such as diabetes, heart problem, and high blood pressure rapidly increases from year-to-year. Hence, regular exercise, at least twice a week, is encouraged for everyone, especially for adults and the elderly. An accelerometer sensor is preferable, due to privacy concerns and the low cost of installation. It is embedded within smartphones to monitor the amount of physical activity performed. One of the limitations of the various classifications is to deal with the large dimension of the feature space. Practically speaking, a large amount of memory space is demanded along with high processor performance to process a large number of features. Hence, the dimension of the features is required to be minimized by selecting the most relevant feature before it is classified. In order to tackle this issue, the hybrid feature selection using Relief-f and differential evolution is proposed. The public domain activity dataset from Physical Activity for Ageing People (PAMAP2) is used in the experimentation to identify the quality of the proposed method. Our experimental results show outstanding performance to recognize different types of physical activities with a minimum number of features. Subsequently, our findings indicate that the wrist is the best sensor placement to recognize the different types of human activity. The performance of our work also been compared with several state-of-the-art of features for selection algorithms.

Accelerometer; Differential evolution (D); Evolutionary algorithm (EA); PSO; Genetic algorithm (GA); Particle swarm optimization (PSO); Relief-f; Tabu search algorithm

Introduction

Human Activity Recognition (HAR) application has recently gained attention in the intelligent environment field. In such states, monitoring human activity might be extremely important to reduce the fraction of unhealthy conditions. According to the 2016 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the percentage of diabetes patients has increased incrementally in the world population (WHO, 2016).

In looking at this matter, insufficient physical activity is one of the issues. Regular exercise can be thought as one of the simplest solutions, by spending time in at least twice a week engaged in some physical exercises. Also, with the advancement of sensing technology, the use of inertial sensors offers a possible solution. Inertial sensors, such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, provide opportunities to undergo the HAR application process and these sensors have also been equipped in various smartphone models. Hence, everyone can track and monitor their daily exercise without relying on any other additional devices. These micro-machine electromechanical systems (MEMs) sensors are able to record the signals in three-dimensional spaces, where the x-axis (left-and-right movement), the y-axis (up-and-down movement) and the z-axis (upward/backward movement) are monitored (Acharjee et al., 2015). The signal is recorded by quantifying the sense of  vibration through the device when movement is triggered. Even so, the choice of the sensor placement also effects to the classification performance (Avci et al., 2010). So, the position of the sensor placement needs to be clearly identified which to ensure it is able to recognize different kinds of actions, particularly in recognizing complex activities. These complex activities could be considered as the activity which consists of a sequence of actions arising from several different parts of the human body.

Also, to deal with the abundance number of features is another challenge. Practically speaking, the training model complexity and the processing time is strongly related to the numbers of features to be processed (Catal et al., 2015). In such states, feature selection was ‘pruned’ by removing the less significant features before each feature is classified. The features that do not contribute enough information to be described within the particular class are removed from the feature space.

In this article, several contributions were carried out. A hybrid feature selection method using Relief-f feature ranking with a well-known evolutionary algorithm, known as differential evolution (DE) was proposed to select the most relevant features. Secondly, we also proposed an adaptive parameter mechanism without relying on the exhaustive process to find the optimum parameter values. Lastly, our proposed feature selection method also performed an outstanding degree of accuracy which was better than several well-known feature selection algorithms, such as particle swarm optimization (PSO), evolutionary algorithm (EA), genetic algorithm (GA) and the Tabu search algorithm. This paper is organized as follows: Section II explains the background work; Section III describes the materials and methods; Sections IV discusses the proposed feature selection.; Section V presents the results and discussion; Section VI presents the conclusions.

Experimental Methods

3.1.    PAMAP2  Datasets

In our study, a public dataset compiled on activity recognition from PAMAP2 (Reiss & Stricker 2012) was used. Three Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) were placed at a dominant position on the wrist, chest and on the dominant side of the ankle. Each IMU consists of a 3D accelerometer sensor, a 3D gyroscope sensor, a 3D magnetometer sensor, and a temperature and an orientation sensor. A 100-Hz sampling rate was used during the data collection. Nine subjects, including one woman and eight men, were asked to perform several activities. Each subject was asked to complete eighteen activities, such as lying down, sitting, standing, walking, running, cycling, Nordic walking, watching TV, computer work, car driving, ascending walking, descending walking, ironing, folding laundry, house cleaning, playing soccer and rope jumping. In this study, only the sensor signals obtained from an accelerometer sensor placed on the wrist were used.


3.2.    Window Segmentation

In order to extract the features from these recorded accelerometer signals, the raw data stream needed to be divided into several segments before applying any further calculations. A sliding window, sized at 6 seconds with a 50% overlap between two consecutive window segments was applied. This amount is believed to be sufficient to describe the activity. Meanwhile, overlapping was chosen to reduce the probabilities of error state noise since there were transitions between two or more activities (Su et al., 2014). So, every window segment was given 64 samples with 32 samples overlapping between two consecutive windows.


3.3.    Feature Extraction

Originally, the sensor data stream consisted of a limited number of characteristics to describe the activity. In such states, the correct classification rate might decrease when using a limited number of features. Therefore, several additional features need to be extracted to help the classifier model to learn about more characteristic in the activity class. The feature extraction aims to discover the characteristics of each activity by reducing the representation of data. During this process, several features in the collection of time domain features, such as minimum and maximum values, mean, variance, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis, and correlation, were extracted. Due to the ease and the direct extraction of figures out of the window segment, time domain features were applied. The extracted signal is referred as a feature vector and later it will be used as an input variable for the classifier model (Su et al., 2014; Avci et al., 2010). The success of the chosen features is measured in how accurately the classifier model is able to differentiate and recognize the activity.  

Results and Discussion

This section describes the experimental procedures and results of the proposed work. In order to go through the experiment, we managed and conducted the experiment using two different tools. The necessary process, including the preprocessing, segmentation, data extraction, and feature selection was done using the Matlab 2013 tool. Meanwhile, widely-recognized machine learning tools (WEKA) were used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method based on several performance metrics (Hall & Smith, 1998). Each window segment went through the extraction process and 8 features were derived from each window segment. Hence, this process resulted  in a total of 24 features (8 features × 3 dimensions).

Average accuracy was calculated to measure the average classification performance. However, this metric might unsuitable to measure the performance of imbalanced class distribution. Hence, additional metrics like precision, recall, F-measure were used (Wang et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2015). The experiment was done under two conditions; using all extracted features (FS1) and using reduced features (FS2). In order to validate our classification performance, the extracted data were divided into two different groups of subsets where 70% was used for training and 30% was reserved for testing. In the training process, the 10-fold cross validation strategy was applied. The training dataset was divided into 10 equal sizes of subsets. In each run, 9 subsets were applied to train the model and the remaining 1 subset was reserved for testing. This process was repeated in 10 times and average performance was calculated to produce the final predictive result. In this work, we use the random forest classifier model to figure out the quality of the performance of the proposed method. Table 1 presents the classification performance of training subsets from all features (FS1).

 

Table 1 Classification results of training subsets from all features FS1

 

Activity

Accuracy

Precision

Recall

F-measure

Laying down

Sitting

Standing

Walking

Running

Cycling

Nordic walking

Watching TV

Computer work

Car driving

Ascending walk

Descending walk

Laundry

House cleaning

Soccer

Rope jumping

Average

0.980

1.000

0.986

0.975

1.000

0.996

1.000

0.948

0.994

0.968

0.992

0.997

0.973

0.999

0.992

0.987

0.987

0.994

0.999

0.995

0.974

0.998

0.999

0.993

0.998

0.986

0.989

0.996

0.991

0.967

0.982

0.986

0.984

0.987

0.980

1.000

0.986

0.975

1.000

0.996

1.000

0.948

0.994

0.968

0.992

0.997

0.973

0.999

0.992

0.987

0.987

0.987

0.999

0.990

0.974

0.999

0.997

0.996

0.972

0.990

0.979

0.994

0.994

0.970

0.990

0.989

0.985

0.987

 

It is clearly being seen that most activities were recorded above 94% on average. However, walking and laundry were recorded at a slightly lower level of performance than the others, below 97%. Next, we managed the experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed method.

 

As discussed in section 4, a two-stage hybrid feature selection is introduced. In the first stage, the extracted features were ranked to measure the scoring value. Thereafter, the ranking features later on were ‘pruned’ according to the value of the specified feature boundary. In this case, we noticed that a feature score lower than 0.02 was believed to be irrelevant since there was no improvement in terms of accuracy when a feature valued at below the selected value was included. Consequently, only 20 features above the chosen feature boundary remained in the next process.     

In the second stage, the selected 20 features were applied as data input to the DE algorithm. The number of desired features (DNF), the size of population (PSIZE) and the number of generations (GEN) is the necessary parameter needed to be defined. In order to minimize the searching complexity, the number of PSIZE and GEN parameters was adaptively defined, according to the number of ‘pruned’ features. So, in this way the number of PSIZE and GEN parameters is initialized as 20, accordingly. We also completed several experiments to define the optimum number of DNF parameters. In such states, 15 are considered as the most relevant number of features. We also noticed that the accuracy was decreased when we increased the number of features to be classified. Therefore, the generated feature subsets were comprised into new feature subsets represented by FS2.

Table 2 shows the classification result of training and testing for feature subsets FS2. There was an improvement in terms of accuracy; on average, 95% accuracy was received from all activities, while the F-measure and precision measures were recorded above 97%. The average accuracy of training subsets from all FS2 features was achieved above 98% for all metrics. Surprisingly, the activities thought to be the poorest from FS1 (walking and laundry), also shown an improvement, where 97.5% and 97% accuracy, respectively these were recorded in the same way. For testing, more than 97% of the precision and F-measures were obtained from all activities. However, walking was recorded the lowest among the others, where 97% accuracy was received. It could be proven that the wrist is not considered as a good sensor placement in the context of recognizing that walking primarily consists of dominant lower leg motions. Laundry also is measured at being somewhat lower than the others since this kind of activity may contain a sequence of actions to be performed, based on multiple features.   

In order to validate the performance, we also made a comparison with several states-of-the-art feature selection methods. Several well-known feature selection algorithms, such as particle swarm optimization (PSO) (Das et al., 2015; Prasad et al., 2015), the evolutionary algorithm (EA) (Arif & Kattan, 2015), the genetic algorithm (GA) (Ijjina & Mohan, 2014; Das et al., 2015; Prasad et al., 2015) and the Tabu search algorithm (Arif & Kattan, 2015) were utilized. Table 3 shows the performance comparison in term of accuracy and the overall time taken to build the training model. PSO, EA, and GA were reported at 96% of accuracy, followed by the Tabu search algorithm, where 95% accuracy was obtained. Even though there is no large difference between our methods and others, the overall time taken recorded from our proposed method produced the fastest results, where a rate of 34.61 seconds was obtained. The genetic algorithm (GA) recorded the longest time (45.17 seconds). On the other hand, we also compared the performance of our experimental results with several reported work in activity recognition. Table 4 shows the comparison with the previously reported work.


Conclusion

An accelerometer sensor deeply set within a smartphone provides opportunities for researchers to facilitate their data collection in activity recognition. However, the high number of irrelevant features is believed to be an extremely important challenge. The model complexity as well as the time and memory space to process the enormous number of features is relatively increased when running a high number of irrelevant features. Additionally, accuracy also tends to decrease when including too many less informative features to classify. Hence, a hybrid feature selection method using Relief-f and differential evolution is proposed in order to minimize and eliminate the least significant features before it is fed into the classifier model. The PAMAP2 activity dataset is used as a benchmark study to figure out the quality of our performance for the proposed method. Our experimental results proven an outstanding level of performance in recognizing different physically complex activities in comparison with several state-of-the-art feature selection algorithms. For future work, we are planning to evaluate the performance in recognizing the activity using the combinations of several sensor placements attached to the subject’s body. Additionally, we also encourage other researchers to improve upon our methods in different domains.

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