ACTman: Automated preprocessing and analysis of actigraphy data

Jan 13, 2023

Yorman K. Kunkels and colleagues from the University Medical Center Groningen’s Department of Psychiatry have recently introduced a novel software library, Actigraphy Manager (ACTman), to the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (JSAMS). ACTman is an automated preprocessing and analytical software developed for the statistical programming language, R, that is meant to improve current actigraphy research practices. 

Actigraphy is a non-invasive method of longitudinally monitoring human sleep-wake cycles. Its data has proven to be helpful in evaluating various circadian rhythm disorders, such as insomnia and narcolepsy, as well as their various health outcomes. Actigraphy studies currently utilize data-collecting, high resolution accelerometer hardware that requires software for data analysis. As it currently stands, there is a limited number of functional, open-source software libraries which cater to the actigraphy researcher. Furthermore, these software libraries exhibit several limitations regarding transparency, reproducibility, and scalability. The development of ACTman aimed to resolve these limitations and alleviate researcher workload.

ACTman is an actigraphy software library with automated preprocessing functionalities, such as indexing, binning, combining, and reformatting device-specific data, in order to eliminate monotonous human input. This automated function reduces human error and, as a result, increases reproducibility. This data, once reformatted into a generic data frame, can then be used for sleep or circadian rhythm analysis. Additionally, the software, unlike current actigraphy softwares, supports several actigraphy devices and even offers a scriptable framework that can be extended to include other devices if needed. ACTman’s ability to process an increasing amount of elements while maintaining performance attests to its impressive scalability. ACTman also offers a transparent source code repository and is an open-source software library. This guarantees that stakeholders may modify the ACTman source code to support their own goals. In this context, ACTman may serve as a mere stepping stone in novel actigraphy advances. The software is currently available for download on GitHub.


This research tool was created by your colleagues. Please acknowledge the Principal Investigator, cite the article in which the tool was described, and include an RRID in the Materials and Methods of your future publications. RRID:SCR_023119

Special thanks to Jovanikha Oreus, an undergraduate neuroscience major, for providing this project summary! This summary is part of a collection from students in  a Computational Methods for Neuroscience Course at American University. 

Access ACTman via GitHub

Check out the ACTman GitHub repository.

Read the publication!

Learn more about ACTman from the 2019 Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport publication! 

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