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Research on sensor-based activity recognition has, recently, made significant progress and is attracting growing attention in a number of disciplines and application domains. However, there is a lack of high-level overview on this topic that can inform related communities of the research state of the art. In this paper, we present a comprehensive survey to examine the development and current status of various aspects of sensor-based activity recognition. We first discuss the general rationale and distinctions of vision-based and sensor-based activity recognition. Then, we review the major approaches and methods associated with sensor-based activity monitoring, modeling, and recognition from which strengths and weaknesses of those approaches are highlighted. We make a primary distinction in this paper between data-driven and knowledge-driven approaches, and use this distinction to structure our survey. We also discuss some promising directions for future research.