Physical behaviors (e.g., sleep, sedentary behavior, and physical activity) often occur in sustained bouts that are punctuated with brief interruptions. To detect and classify these interrupted bouts, researchers commonly use wearable devices and specialized algorithms. Most algorithms examine the data in chronological order, initiating and terminating bouts whenever specific criteria are met. Consequently, the bouts may encapsulate or overlap with later periods that also meet the activation and termination criteria (i.e., alternative bout solutions). In some cases, it is desirable to compare these alternative bout solutions before making a final classification. Thus, comparison-focused algorithms are needed, which can be used in isolation or in concert with their chronology-focused counterparts. In this technical note, we present a comparison-focused algorithm called CRIB (Clustered Recognition of Interrupted Bouts). It uses agglomerative hierarchical clustering to facilitate the comparison of different bout solutions, with the final classification being made in favor of the smallest number of bouts that comply with user-specified criteria (i.e., limits on the number, individual duration, and cumulative duration of interruptions). For demonstration, we use CRIB to assess bouts of moderate to vigorous physical activity in accelerometer data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and we include a comparison against results from two established chronology-focused algorithms. Our discussion explores strengths and limitations of CRIB, as well as potential considerations and applications for using it in future studies. An online vignette (https://github.com/paulhibbing/PBpatterns/blob/main/vignettes/CRIB.pdf) is available to assist users with implementing CRIB in R.
Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
wearable technology; interruptions; signal processing; data-driven algorithms, unsupervised data mining
Hibbing PR, Creasy SA, Carlson JA. CRIB: A Novel Method for Device-Based Physical Behavior Analysis. Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour. 2022;5(4):277-287. doi:10.1123/jmpb.2021-0059
Publisher's Link: https://doi.org/10.1123/jmpb.2021-0059