Optimal feature set for smartphone-based activity recognition

Maryam Banitalebi Dehkordi, Abolfazl Zaraki, Rossitza Setchi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Human activity recognition using wearable and mobile devices is used for decades to monitor humans' daily behaviours. In recent years as smartphones being widely integrated into our daily lives, the use of smartphone's built-in sensors in human activity recognition has been receiving more attention, in which smartphone accelerometer plays the main role. However, in comparison to the standard machine, when developing human activity recognition using a smartphone, the limitations such as processing capability and energy consumption should be taken into consideration, and therefore, a trade-off between performance and computational complexity should be considered. In this paper, we shed light on the importance of feature selection and its impact on simplifying the activity classification process, which enhances the computational complexity of the system. The novelty of this work is related to identifying the most efficient features for the detection of each individual activity uniquely. In an experimental study with human users and using different smartphones, we investigated how to achieve an optimal feature set, using which the system complexity can be decreased while the activity recognition accuracy remains high. For that, in the considered scenario, we instructed the participants to perform different activities, including static, dynamic, going up and down the stairs, and walking fast and slow while freely holding a smartphone in their hands. To evaluate the obtained optimal feature set implementing two major classification algorithms, the decision tree and the Bayesian network, we investigated activity recognition accuracy for different activities. We further evaluated the optimal feature set by comparing the performance of the activity recognition system using the optimal feature set and three feature sets taken from the state-of-the-art. The experimental results demonstrated that replacing a large number of conventional features with an optimal feature set has only a negligible impact on the overall activity recognition system performance while it can significantly decrease the system's complexity, which is essential for smartphone-based systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3497-3506
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event25th KES International Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, KES 2021 - Szczecin, Poland
Duration: 8 Sep 202110 Sep 2021


  • Activity recognition
  • Feature extraction
  • Feature selection
  • Inertial sensor
  • Smartphone


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