This study aimed to validate a wearable device’s walking speed estimation pipeline, considering complexity, speed, and walking bout duration. The goal was to provide recommendations on the use of wearable devices for real-world mobility analysis. Participants with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Proximal Femoral Fracture, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, and healthy older adults (n = 97) were monitored in the laboratory and the real-world (2.5 h), using a lower back wearable device. Two walking speed estimation pipelines were validated across 4408/1298 (2.5 h/laboratory) detected walking bouts, compared to 4620/1365 bouts detected by a multi-sensor reference system. In the laboratory, the mean absolute error (MAE) and mean relative error (MRE) for walking speed estimation ranged from 0.06 to 0.12 m/s and − 2.1 to 14.4%, with ICCs (Intraclass correlation coefficients) between good (0.79) and excellent (0.91). Real-world MAE ranged from 0.09 to 0.13, MARE from 1.3 to 22.7%, with ICCs indicating moderate (0.57) to good (0.88) agreement. Lower errors were observed for cohorts without major gait impairments, less complex tasks, and longer walking bouts. The analytical pipelines demonstrated moderate to good accuracy in estimating walking speed. Accuracy depended on confounding factors, emphasizing the need for robust technical validation before clinical application. Trial registration: ISRCTN – 12246987.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1754
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


FundersFunder number
IMI2 JU853981
NHS Foundation Trust
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear
Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility
European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations
National Institute for Health and Care Research
Newcastle University
Generalitat de Catalunya
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónCEX2018-000806-S
Horizon 2020
Innovative Medicines Initiative820820
NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre
NIHR Leicester Clinical Research FacilityIS-BRC-1215–20017


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