Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2012) 11, 643 - 652

Research article
Field Based Reliability and Validity of the Bioharnessâ„¢ Multivariable Monitoring Device
James A. Johnstone1, , Paul A. Ford3, Gerwyn Hughes1, Tim Watson2, Andrew C. S. Mitchell1, Andrew T. Garrett4
Author Information
1 Sport, Health and Exercise Research Group, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, UK
2 School of Health and Emergency Professions, University of Hertfordshire, UK
3 British Olympic Association, London, UK
4 Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, UK

James A. Johnstone
✉ Sport, Health and Exercise, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB, UK
Publish Date
Received: 30-05-2012
Accepted: 29-08-2012
Published (online): 01-12-2012

The Bioharness™ device is designed for monitoring physiological variables in free-living situations but has only been proven to be reliable and valid in a laboratory environment. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the reliability and validity of the Bioharness™ using a field based protocol. Twenty healthy males participated. Heart rate (HR), breathing frequency (BF) and accelerometry (ACC) were assessed by simultaneous measurement of two Bioharness™ devices and a test-retest of a discontinuous incremental walk-jog-run protocol (4 - 11 km·h-1) completed in a sports hall. Adopted precision of measurement devices were; HR: Polar T31 (Polar Electro), BF: Spirometer (Cortex Metalyser), ACC: Oxygen expenditure (Cortex Metalyser). For all data, precision of measurement reported good relationships (r = 0.61 to 0.67, p < 0.01) and large Limits of Agreement for HR (>79.2 b·min-1) and BF (>54.7 br·min-1). ACC presented excellent precision (r = 0.94, p < 0.01). Results for HR (r= ~0.91, p < 0.01: CV <7.6) and ACC (r > 0.97, p < 0.01; CV <14.7) suggested these variables are reliable. BF presented more variable data (r = 0.46-0.61, p < 0.01; CV < 23.7). As velocity of movement increased (>8 km·h-1) data became more erroneous. A data cleaning protocol removed gross errors in the data analysis and subsequent reliability and validity statistics improved across all variables. In conclusion, the Bioharness™ HR and ACC variables have demonstrated reliability and validity in a field setting, though data collected at higher velocities should be treated with caution. Measuring human physiological responses in a field based environment allows for more ecologically valid data to be collected and devices such as the Bioharness™ could be used by exercise professionals to begin to further investigate this area.

Key words: Multi-variable, physiological monitoring, ecological validity, new technology

           Key Points
  • Field based monitoring technology should be assessed for reliability and validity in both the laboratory and applied setting in order to fully understand the data quality.
  • Providing increased transparency in data collection and processing allows the exercise professional a comprehensive view of new technology.
  • Of the three Bioharnessâ„¢ variables assessed, heart rate and accelerometry provided the most valid and reliable data.
  • The Bioharnessâ„¢ and other similar new monitoring technology, may allow for further insight in to physical performance during ecologically valid experimental and “in-competition” athletic scenarios.
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