Watch Out! - New fusion engine using satellite navigation & inertial sensors for enhanced clinical-grade activity monitoring of elderly people

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Gait deficits are ubiquitous among the elderly population, and lead to enormous personal, occupational and health care burden. 1 out of 3 people aged 65+ falls each year, with severe consequences such as hip fracture and traumatic brain injury. 

Current interventions only moderately improve gait deficits, and focus on fall treatment rather than prevention. This is primarily a result of inadequate or lack of appropriate tools for proactively monitoring patient behaviour in their home setting. 

By leveraging GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) services, Gait Up is now able to provide a clinical-grade tracker for remote gait assessment and proactive fall prevention measures for seniors. 

The enhanced activity tracker combines existing IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and GNSS hardware, in a wrist-worn format, with never before achieved accuracy. These novel capabilities are the result of Gait Up’s innovative data fusion algorithm, GaitHub, and are available for license to third parties.

Users and their needs

Healthcare and clinical institutions are being challenged by the growing number of elderly people and strict regulations: there are not enough doctors to care for the frail population. The ageing population, as well as their families, wish to continue living at home for as long as possible. However, mobility limitation & falls prevent them to do so. By providing an affordable scientifically validated home self-assessment tool, this technology addresses different stakeholders ‘needs: 

Patients (User)

  • Independent life at home for a fragile population at fear of falls & health issues
  • Enhanced security & quality of life to reduce risk of hospitalization

Families (User)

  • Connected follow-up for a time-efficient care
  • Peace of mind about their loved ones’ quality of  life

Clinics (User)

  • Connected follow-up for a time-efficient care
  • Access to reliable patient data for evidence-based prevention

Healthcare service provider: Public institutions, Insurances, Social security (Payor)

  • Cost-effective solution
  • Access to data for prevention of health issues

 

Different metrics would be relevant for the various users: activity barcode for people, gait speed for geriatrician, trends and onset of frailty for clinics and healthcare service providers.

The described technology has the potential to be used globally in any smart/wearable device with GNSS and IMU (wrist-worn, mobile, head, etc.). Nevertheless it will mostly target at risk population such as ageing society where healthcare costs are rising rapidly (EU, US, Japan, etc.). As an enabling technology provider, Gait Up is interested to partner with local companies and institution to commercialize (B2B2C). 

National healthcare institution and private healthcare service provider companies have already confirmed their interest and intent to use the system. The early adopters benefitting from this new technology, are established clinical partners in Gait Up’s portfolio including geriatric, orthopedic centers, rehabilitation clinics and hospitals as well as healthcare national public institutions, insurances, social security.

Service/ system concept

In this study, we used existing hardware from off-the-shelf wrist-worn trackers, a smartwatch allowing to address the mass in terms of affordability and supply chain, and brought accuracy that has never been obtained before thanks to an innovative fusion software, in the form of an algorithm combining satellite navigation and inertial sensors output. 

The embedded real-time fusion algorithm enables to provide an accurate free-living environment physical activity assessment in form of a barcode as well as key walking parameters incl. gait speed, which has proven to be key to understand the sedentarity and fall mechanisms and implement future fall prevention. 

To achieve a unique level of accuracy, an innovative automatic fusion algorithm with recursive online training combines both satellite navigation (GNSS) and motion (IMU) data to monitor with the highest precision physical activity and specific gait data. 

The validated and relevant metrics in form of an innovative physical activity barcode and specific gait data in the daily living of community-dwelling adults will be valuable data for health measures.

 

 

Space Added Value

The integration of satellite navigation in clinical-grade wearable activity monitoring tracker gives the opportunity to provide health-care professionals with a clinical-grade physical activity assessment remotely in natural conditions. The embedded real-time fusion algorithm combining both navigation system and inertial data enables an outdoor physical activity assessment (incl. gait speed) with a never-obtained accuracy. This metrics in free-living environments are key to understand the fall mechanisms and implement future fall prevention measures thanks to alarm-triggering systems. 

This new technology could be applicable to multiple smart devices (wrist-worn, mobile, head, etc.), including smartwatches, mobile phones, instrumented shoes, etc., thus adapted to various use cases. 

Future applications and developments of this project using smart wearables can have huge potentials in mobility support, telemedicine, promotion of secured outdoor social and leisure activities thanks to navigation services.

Current Status

In the frame of this Kick-start Study, which ran from November 2017 until June 2018, the service requirements of a clinical-grade wearable activity monitoring tracker integrating satellite navigation have been validated. Both novel GNSS & IMU fusion algorithm have been developed. The GNSS-free algorithm benchmarking results have shown unique accuracy on the evaluated parameters including gait speed and physical activity recognition.

A first version of the solution is already available: as a proof-of-concept, an application has been integrated in an off-the-shelf smartwatch. This new algorithm could be applicable to multiple smart devices. Some work would be required in order to adapt it from Android to other platforms (iOS, Samsung, etc.)

National healthcare institutions have already confirmed their interest and intent to use the system. As an enabling technology provider, Gait Up is interested to partner with local companies and institution to commercialize (B2B2C).

Prime Contractor

Gait Up

Switzerland

Gait Up

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Cléo Moulin
Gait Up
EPFL Innovation Park, Bâtiment C
1015 Lausanne
Switzerland

ESA Project Manager

César Bastón Canosa
ESA / ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1
2200 AG Noordwijk ZH
Netherlands

Status Date

Updated: 19 December 2018 - Created: 19 December 2018