Application of wireless inertial measurement units and EMG sensors for studying deglutition - preliminary results

Different types of sensors are being used to study deglutition and mastication. These often suffer from problems related to portability, cost, reliability, comfort etc. that make it difficult to use for long term studies. An inertial measurement based sensor seems a good fit in this application; however its use has not been explored much for the specific application of deglutition research. In this paper, we present a system comprised of an IMU and EMG sensor that are integrated together as a single system. With a preliminary experiment, we determine that the system can be used for measuring the head-neck posture during swallowing in addition to other parameters during the swallowing phase. The EMG sensor may not always be a reliable source of physiological data especially for small clustered muscles like the ones responsible for swallowing. In this case, we explore the possibility of using gyroscopic data for the recognition of deglutition events.