WiGait is a home device that measures walking speed to identify changes in a person's body over time

Researchers from MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new device that measures a person’s walking speed to determine whether they are at risk from certain health issues such as cognitive decline and cardiac disease. WiGait would fit into a ‘health-aware’ home of the future, as the white box can be fitted inside a room to unobtrusively keep track of movements. It resembles a blank canvas hanging on the wall.

The wireless device is able to measure the walking speed of many people at once with 95-99% accuracy. It collects anonymous data to identify changes in walking speed over time that could signal whether someone needs to adjust their health regimen. It also emits only a tiny amount of radiation, with its signals comparable to one-hundredth the amount of radiation of a cellphone.

The way we walk can tell us a lot about our health. Walking speed could be a better predictor of health issues like cognitive decline, falls, and certain cardiac or pulmonary diseases, than monitoring a person’s blood pressure, breathing, body temperature, and pulse. WiGait also measures stride length with 85-99% accuracy, which could enable researchers to better understand conditions like Parkinson’s disease, which are characterized by reduced step size.

Unlike other devices used to measure walking speed, WiGait doesn’t require the person to wear or carry a sensor. It analyzes the surrounding wireless signals and their reflections off a person’s body, and is able to distinguish walking from other movements, such as cleaning a room or brushing your teeth.

In the future, the CSAIL team hopes to test WiGait on people with walking impairments from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis, in order to help physicians accurately track disease progression and adjust medications. You can learn more about the wireless device in the video below:

MIT

Researchers from MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new device that measures a person’s walking speed to determine whether they are at risk from certain health issues such as cognitive decline and cardiac disease. WiGait would fit into a ‘health-aware’ home of the future, as the white box can be fitted inside a room to unobtrusively keep track of movements. It resembles a blank canvas hanging on the wall.

The wireless device is able to measure the walking speed of many people at once with 95-99% accuracy. It collects anonymous data to identify changes in walking speed over time that could signal whether someone needs to adjust their health regimen. It also emits only a tiny amount of radiation, with its signals comparable to one-hundredth the amount of radiation of a cellphone.