GaitKeeper Spots Declining Health By Watching You Walk

19 Jul 2021 | 12.19 pm

GaitKeeper Spots Declining Health By Watching You Walk

AI-based tool can measure deteriorating gait

19 Jul 2021 | 12.19 pm

A digital tool to detect signs of declining health in the elderly has been developed by Digital Gait Labs and Tallaght University Hospital.

The AI-based GaitKeeper technology starts from the clinical principle that how we walk (termed ‘gait’) is an indicator of our overall function, and can provide clinicians with important information on physical, cognitive and psychological wellness.

According to the partners, developing accessible technology which measures subtle changes in gait performance easily and accurately will enhance the detection of declining health and the timely delivery of care to older people.

This would ensure that clinical interventions occur ahead of significant health decline, when those interventions are more costly, take longer to deliver and — most important — have worse outcomes in terms of recovery.

Gait analysis in clinical settings has been limited as it’s expensive, requires a high level of training, and also a lot of space. GaitKeeper, which has been clinically validated by TUH, requires minimal space and can be used by anyone to measure changes in a person’s walking or gait, says DGL.

The technology uses AI computer vision algorithms to quantify important features of a person’s walk. “We do this using a single video recorded on a mobile phone, making it very portable, and very easy to use,” said Dr Aidan Boran, DGL’s founder and chief executive.

“The portability of the technology means it can be used in a variety of healthcare settings such as a hospital ward, nursing home, GP clinic or in a person’s home.”

Trial results from the TUH study showed that the tool works. TUH physiotherapist Gillian Harte said: “For us clinicians, it’s really important to be able to measure the way our patients walk, and unfortunately at the moment that’s not the case. GaitKeeper provides a solution to that problem”.

Study director and consultant geriatrician Professor Sean Kennelly added: “This technology is a game-changer for clinicians as to how we can monitor and gauge how well and fast our patients can walk. This is a key indicator of a person’s wellness, and the technology will be easy to use in any care setting. It effectively offers us a digital biomarker of a patient’s wellness.”

The next stage in the collaboration between TUH and DGL will involve using the technology in a variety of settings to measure and maximise its clinical utility, taking place in the second half of 2021.

DGL is a Dublin City University startup, supported by Enterprise Ireland, which will now spin out from the university and focus on delivering AI-based digital gait solutions, for use initially in the age-related clinical area and in rehabilitation.

 

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