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JKM > Volume 38(1); 2017 > Article
Yim, Kim, Park, and Park: A review on measuring cervical range of motion using an inertial measurement unit



The purpose of this study was to review the article using an IMU(Inertial Measurement Unit) for measuring the cervical range of motion and to evaluate the feasibility of using an IMU for measuring the cervical range of motion.


Scopus was used to search for the articles relating to the inclusion criteria. Which is measuring the cervical range of motion using an IMU. A total of 15 articles were selected through discussion. Degree and the reliability of the cervical range of motion and the validity of the data within the articles were extracted.


The measurement of the cervical range of motion using an IMU were 92.25º to 138.2º, 122.4º to 154.9º, 73.75º to 93.1º on the sagittal plane, transverse plane, and coronal plane respectively. 38 of the 43 values showed good reliability. They were larger than 0.75. 5 of the 43 values showed reliability less than 0.75. They were measured by smart phone. 16 of the 21 values showed good validity. The remaining 5 were measured by smart phone. The lower reliability and validity of smart phone were related to the protocol. The IMU can measure the coupling motion and may be used in various situations.


The IMU may become a gold standard for measuring the cervical range of motion. The IMU measured not only the cervical range of motion but also the coupling motion. Furthermore, IMU may be used in various situations. Therefore, IMU must be considered a valuable measurement device.

Fig. 1
A Review of Measurement on Cervical ROM using an IMU
Fig. 2
(a) wireless IMU from Kim et al4) (b) Wired IMU based CUELA system From Schiefer et al21).
Fig. 3
the Android phone based equipment set up from Quek et al14).
Fig. 4
Position of the iPhone for the measurement of right lateral flexion from Tousignant et al13).
Fig. 5
(a) A participant wearing the Oculus Rift performing the task. (b) A yellow field goal post at the center viewpoint of the participant from Xu et al22).
Table 1
Measurement on Cervical ROM using an IMU.
Study N Sagittal Plane Transverse Plane Coronal Plane
Total Extension Flexion Total Left Right Total Left Right
Pancani et al12 12 106* 54 52 145 80
Schiefer et al21 20 117* 54.33 62.67 141* 70 71 76.33* 39.33 37
Xu et al22 10 69.8 99.5 16.2
Alqhtani et al15 18 128.1* 66.4 61.7 154.9* 80.5 74.4 83.6* 42.1 41.5
Quek et al14 21 131.3* 79.3 52.0 122.4* 65.3 57.1 93.8* 48.8 45.0
Kim et al4 18 116.70 57.23 58.48 143.29 69.67 73.62 89.42 44.15 45.28
Peter et al1 12 92.25 125.75 73.75
Jan et al2 10 63.2 75.0 40.1
Miyaoka et al23 14 112.9* 61.2 51.7 86.6* 43.9 42.7
Duc et al28 10 122 144 88
Tousignant et al13 28 138.2* 82.2 56.0 147.8* 75.4 72.4 93.1* 47.5 45.6

Unit: degree; N: number of subjects.

* These values were calculated by adding two separate values.

Table 2
Reliability of Measurement on Cervical ROM using an IMU.
Study N Sagittal Plane Transverse Plane Coronal Plane
Total Extension Flexion Total Left Right Total Left Right
Pancani et al12) 12 0.88 0.92 0.65 0.91
Schiefer et al21) 20 0.89 0.83 0.79 0.83 0.93 0.95
Alqhtani et al15) 18 0.98 0.98 0.99 0.97 0.98 0.98
Quek et al14) 16 0.82 0.86 0.05 0.33 0.85 0.90
Kim et al4) 18 0.98 0.97 0.98 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.97 0.97 0.98
Peter et al1) 12 0.85 0.95 0.86
Duc et al28) 10 0.87 0.98 1.00
Tousignant et al13) 28 0.84 0.78 0.66 0.74 0.78 0.77

Intraclass Correlation Coefficient(ICC). N: number of subjects.

Table 3
Validity of Measurement on Cervical ROM using an IMU.
Study Gold standard Validity N Sagittal Plane Transverse Plane Coronal Plane
Total Extension Flexion Total Left Right Total Left Right
Pancani et al12) The camera’s system ICC 12 0.98 1.00 0.96
Pryce et al20) video Pearson r 13 0.78 0.92 0.95
Quek et al14) 3DMA ICC 21 0.92 0.98 0.53 0.53 0.95 0.96
Tousignant et al13) CROM ICC 28 0.58 0.76 0.43 0.55 0.70 0.85

N: number of subjects. 3DMA: three dimensional motion analysis (Eyeglasses-like instrument has three inclinometers placed at three different positions), CROM: Cervical Range of Motion Device.

Table 4
Devices only for a measurement about movement.
Study Device Fix Size Communication
Pancani et al12) OPAL, APDM, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA Straps Dermatological patches N/A N/A
Pryce et al20) Microstrain mXRS, Lord Sensing Systems; Williston, Vermont USA N/A 47g, 58mm × 43mm × 22mm Wireless
Schiefer et al21) CUELA SYSTEM (CUELA, IFA, Sankt Augustin, Germany) Velcro straps N/A. Only in picture. Wired
Alqhtani et al15) 3A Sensor String; ThetaMetrix, Waterlooville, UK double-sided tape N/A Wired
Cuesta-Vargas et al25) Inertiacube3, InterSense Inc., MA 26.2mm×39.2mm×14.8mm N/A
Kim et al4) Model EBIMU24G, E2BOX, Seoul, Republic Korea Velcro straps 7.85g, 32mm × 21mm × 6.5mm Wireless
Peter et al1) model 3DM-GX3-25; Microstrain, VT, USA double-sided toupee tape 18g 44mm × 25mm × 11mm Wired
Jan et al2) IC3. Intersense, Bedford, MA, USA N/A Wireless
Miyaoka et al23) ADXL-250, Analog Devices Inc., Norwood, MA, USA the glasses and suspenders with the two sensor elements N/A N/A
Duc et al28) The weaable system (Physilog®, BioAGM, CH) dermatological patches N/A wireless
Boissy et al26) MotionPod, Movea Inc, Grenoble, France 33mm × 21mm × 15mm Wireless
Table 5
Mean (SD. Standard deviation) values for the ROM reached performing extension, flexion, axial rotation and lateral flexion with orthoses.
Max ROM (deg) Trials without orthoses HR SSS A support SSS 6 supports VA
Extension 54 (13) 50 (12) 43 (7) 35 (10) ** 35 (7) **
Flexion 52 (9) 28 (13) ** 36 (13) * 36 (12) * 27 (10) **
Axial rotation 145 (12) 116 (21) 101 (30) ** 96 (33) ** 77 (30) **
Lateral flexion 80 (12) 70 (13) 67 (11) 60 (18) * 61 (15) *

HR: Headmaster. SSS-A support: SSS with the A support. SSS-6 supports: SSSwith six supports. VA: Vista. (*) Level of significance for the difference with “trials without orthosis” is P < 0.05. (**) Level of significance for the difference with “trials without orthosis” is P < 0.01.

Table 6
Angular displacement of the thrust (deg), Mean ± SD.
Rotation Side bending
Pre - training 9.0 ± 8.0 7.9 ± 3.6
Post - training 13.1 ± 8.3 6.6 ± 2.1


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