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Providing accurate and opportune information on people's activities and behaviors is one of the most important tasks in pervasive computing. Innumerable applications can be visualized, for instance, in medical, security, entertainment, and tactical scenarios. Despite human activity recognition (HAR) being an active field for more than a decade, there are still key aspects that, if addressed, would constitute a significant turn in the way people interact with mobile devices. This paper surveys the state of the art in HAR based on wearable sensors. A general architecture is first presented along with a description of the main components of any HAR system. We also propose a two-level taxonomy in accordance to the learning approach (either supervised or semi-supervised) and the response time (either offline or online). Then, the principal issues and challenges are discussed, as well as the main solutions to each one of them. Twenty eight systems are qualitatively evaluated in terms of recognition performance, energy consumption, obtrusiveness, and flexibility, among others. Finally, we present some open problems and ideas that, due to their high relevance, should be addressed in future research.
Date of Publication: Third Quarter 2013