The student team’s device consists of three sensors, which monitor a Parkinson’s sufferer’s walking patterns and helps to prevent any possible fall.
A dangerous effect of Parkinson’s Disease is Parkinsonian Gait, which impedes a person’s ability to walk, often causing them to keel over and hurt themselves. A team of Singaporean innovators, however, are hoping to use technology to help aid sufferers of the disease.
PD Loggers, a group of students from the National University of Singapore, have invented an Internet-of-Things solution that tracks the movements of a Parkinson’s sufferer, detects when the Parkinsonian Gait is about to kick in and helps to prevent any possible falls. The invention on Wednesday won the group Invent 50 competition, a Singapore-wide student technology invention contest sponsored by electronics giant Intel.
The IoT device consists of three sensors, which are placed on each ankle and at the back of the neck, and work together to acquire data on a person’s walking patterns. The team created an algorithm that runs on an Intel Edison chip and analyses the wearer’s gait cycle — when it senses a fall is imminent, it vibrates vigorously to warn the user and applies biofeedback techniques to attempt to re-initiate movement.
Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the deteriorations of neurons, which hampers the movement of dopamine out of the brain. This leads to stuttering, impaired movement and other physical maladies. The affliction is incurable and, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, over 10 million people around the world suffer from it.
The student team took 5-months to develop the device and claim that it is nearly market-ready. For the time being, they intend to continue R&D on the device and hope to release it soon. Winning the Invent 50 competition scored the team SGD$10,000 ( $7,000, AU$10,000, £4,500) and internships with Intel.