Benefits of IMU-based Wearables in Sports Medicine: Narrative Review

Jacob S. Arlotti, William O. Carroll, Youness Afifi, Purva Talegaonkar, Luciano Albuquerque, Reuben F. Burch V, John E. Ball, Harish Chander, Adam Petway


Background: Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) based wearables have been the focus of many recent sports medicine research efforts. Objective: The goal of this narrative-driven literature review is to provide the current state of IMU-based wearable technology in Sports Medicine for the benefit of practitioners and athletic trainers. Method: A search was performed using university library resources; specifically, PubMed, EBSCO Discovery and Google Scholar search engines were used to identify appropriate peer-reviewed studies in this field. Results: IMU wearables have shown to be a cost-effective way to measure biomechanical and physiological data for athletic training and rehabilitation compared to laboratory gold standards. While IMU wearables show potential, barriers such as IMU drift and complicated calibrations limit the technology’s ability to flourish in the commercial market. Conclusion: IMU-based wearables provide kinematic information without the constraints and costs of gold standard laboratory equipment such as video-based motion capture and force plates; however, further innovation is required to overcome their major obstacles.


Technology, Sports Medicine, Machine Learning, Biomechanical Phenomena, Wearable Electronic Devices

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