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  • Publication
    Exploring the potential of wearable technology to impact equine movement analysis in the applied field
    (University College Dublin. School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, 2020) ;
    The digital age has given rise to an explosion of ambient and wearable devices facilitating the collection of ecologically valid movement data. Many equine researchers have highlighted the capability of wearable technology to improve the reliability and validity of objective equine gait analysis, particularly with respect to lameness assessment. This thesis leverages the learning accrued from the integration of technology into healthcare and athletic performance management in the applied human field, to understand how best to progress the developing field of objective equine monitoring and movement analysis. The aim of the thesis was to explore the translational research space by a) focusing on the stakeholders who would potentially be the end-users of such technologies, and b) using wearable technology to collect equine movement data where it would ultimately be used i.e. in the applied setting. A bilateral lameness model was employed as the use case for exploring the potential of behaviour, locomotor and postural sway data - derived from video and a single accelerometer - to provide meaningful information on inflammation and recovery. Research presented outlines that expert equine stakeholders perceived that current technological offerings did not exceed their value threshold in providing additional equine health and performance insights. Additionally, it was evident from chapters Five, Six and Eight that variability of movement as a discriminator between normal and abnormal joint inflammation merits further attention. Behaviour switching, variability of acceleration during locomotion and amplitude of postural sway were shown to be statistically different in inflamed versus normal states. This project demonstrated the feasibility of harvesting a variety of meaningful movement parameters using a single accelerometer in the applied field. Future work should focus on knowledge exchange activities that could enrich the development of fit-for-purpose technologies that can add value to existing equine management practices.