Tech UPTechnologyTell me how you walk and I will help...

Tell me how you walk and I will help you improve your health

Patient movements vary due to the impact of different diseases. By monitoring their gait, it is possible to help health professionals to quantify movements and record recovery processes. Medical professionals can identify symptoms in patients by observing their gait. However, it is difficult to digitize symptoms as there are numerous characteristics that differ depending on the type and severity of the disease and for this reason physical therapists perform visual inspections in most cases.

In order to improve this, Fujitsu has developed a technology to automatically and accurately quantify factors such as swing time and posture of the right and left leg, as well as the difference between the movements of both legs. In the new development, the characteristic points at the moment of the change of movement are determined using the waves of the signals emitted by gyroscopic sensors that are attached to the ankles of the patients.

Need for analysis technology

Experts say that various symptoms, such as musculoskeletal, neuronal and cardiovascular conditions, affect the gait characteristics of patients. The new technology will allow healthcare professionals to quantify the gait of patients walking under the influence of such conditions , and as a result they will be able to record recovery processes and assist with remote monitoring of patients, thus improving the efficiency of patients. medical services.

In the field of medicine, it is essential to analyze the walk of the sick to examine their changing symptoms, as well as their state of recovery. In fact, it is well known that symptoms such as musculoskeletal, neuronal, and cardiovascular conditions cause gait abnormalities. Consequently, there has been a need for gait analysis technology that can digitally capture the same information that physical therapists perform visually, to detect early signs of disease symptoms.

Numerous methods based on machine learning and algorithms, using rules as conventional techniques for comparing and analyzing gait characteristics and quantitative data, have attracted the attention of healthcare professionals. However, physical therapists work with patients diagnosed with a wide range of diseases, and the impact on their gait patterns differs significantly, depending on factors such as the nature of the disease, its severity, and the location of the disabled areas . Therefore, conventional techniques could not quantify various walking characteristics with high precision, since they would only be able to analyze a limited number of patterns, or they could not obtain enough data from the gait for their learning.


A model based on the law of motion

The technology developed by Fujitsu is capable of quantifying the characteristics of various walking styles, based on the signals emitted by gyroscopic sensors, connected to the patient’s ankles. This technology uses a recently developed model based on the law of motion, which analyzes the relationship between left and right leg movements during gait and how different gait characteristics change over time , detecting characteristic points and assigning meaning. to the waveform of the signal that is emitted by the gyro sensors. In this way, the signal can be clearly identified from the particular points of the walking stride, when the heel touches the ground or when the toe is off the ground, as they can be recognized regardless of the method of walking. By measuring these characteristic points, gait shapes, such as stride length and oscillation time, can be quantified with great precision.

Using a commercially available gyro sensor, the new technology assesses various gaits, including 9 types of abnormalities (walking in short steps, circumduction, shuffling, etc.), allowing for an accurate calculation of multiple characteristics. Specifically, the precision of the automatic recognition of the gait segment for the movements was 96.5% and the stride time extraction error (sum of the posture time and the swing time) was 1.8%. In other words, the new technology reduced the measurement error by up to 1/3 times, compared to conventional commercial products, which require manual entry of the walking section.

Fujitsu, he says, will continue to develop new digitization technology for the use of data from observation of the gait of medical professionals, as well as for remote monitoring of patients at home, which is increasing rapidly.

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