The Healthy Brain Network is an openly shared pediatric psychiatric biobank with a target of 10,000 participants between the ages of 5 and 21, inclusively. In adding ecological actimetry to the Healthy Brain Network, we intend to use appropriate, accurate, reliable tools. Currently a wide range of personal activity trackers are commercially available, providing a wide variety of sensor configurations. For many of these devices, accelerometry provides the basis of measuring both physical activity and sleep with comparable derivative measures.
In order to include an ecological biotracker in the Healthy Brain Network protocol, we first evaluated the specifications of a variety of actimeters available for purchase. We then acquired physical instances of 5 of these devices (ActiGraph wGT3X-BT, Empatica Embrace, Empatica E4, GENEActiv Original, and Wavelet Wristband) and wore each of them in our daily lives, annotating our activities and evaluating the reasonableness of the data from each device and the logistical affordances of each device.
We decided that the ActiGraph wGT3X-BT (red plastic in picture below) is the most appropriate device for inclusion in the Healthy Brain Network. However, none of the devices we evaluated was clearly superior or inferior to the rest; rather, each device seems to have use cases in which that device excels beyond the others.