UK researchers to develop new digital gait-monitoring technology

15 April 2019 (Last Updated April 15th, 2019 11:01)

A research team at the University of Sheffield has secured funding to develop a monitoring system to assess a patient's health and wellbeing based on their gait.

UK researchers to develop new digital gait-monitoring technology
The research involves a system of sensors that monitor gait. Credit: The University of Sheffield.

A research team at the University of Sheffield has secured funding to develop a monitoring system to assess a patient’s health and wellbeing based on their gait.

Comprising an array of small sensors, the technology is expected to be used to observe the effects of diseases such as Parkinson’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis, proximal femoral fracture and congestive heart failure.

Poor gait is also linked to cognitive decline, dementia, higher risk of falls, greater disease risk and earlier death.

The €2.1m grant will be provided by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking.

“MOBILISE-D is the product of a long-standing multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine and the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre.”

The research forms part of the European MOBILISE-D project, which aims to use digital technology to assess mobility loss while facilitating improved clinical trials and management.

Under the project, clinicians and scientists from academic centres in Europe will work with European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) member companies.

A total of 34 organisations are participating in the research, including the Insigneo Institute, which is led by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Insigneo Institute director and the university’s department of mechanical engineering professor Claudia Mazzà will lead the development of the digital monitoring technology.

Mazzà said: “MOBILISE-D is the product of a long-standing multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine and the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre.

“It marks a fantastic opportunity for the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospital to contribute to a technology-based revolution in clinical management and personalised healthcare, with a local focus on multiple sclerosis.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals professor Basil Sharrack is set to lead the clinical validation of the technology in multiple sclerosis.