Innovative Device Accurately Measures Walking Speed

People walking

A wireless device can measure walking speed with 95 to 99 percent accuracy

The MIT researchers developed a device which can record the speed at which a person walks. Called WiGait, the device uses no sensors, and detects the speed wirelessly with an accuracy of 95 to 99 percent. This might help in predicting possible health issues linked to slow walking.

Walking speed, a health indicative

Previous studies indicated that a person’s walking speed could offer a lot of information about their health condition. For instance, slow walking might be an indicative of a decline in the cognitive abilities or of cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers took inspiration from these studies and decided to build a device which could detect unseen health problems. If a person changes speed mid-walk, it could mean that they suffered a sudden injury or that they might soon fall or faint. Besides, the device is vital for older people.

The device is small and practical, as it needs no sensors attached to the person’s body. It can be placed on a wall, where it records the wireless signals which are reflected off people as they are walking. The mechanism behind WiGait is inspired from the previous work of its creators.

WiGait works with no sensors

Professor Dina Katabi and a team of other MIT researchers had previously developed other devices with similar functioning. WiGait is an update on these devices. What the mechanism does is emit some wireless signals which reach the people in front of the device.

Then, these signals return and bring information on the breathing rate, the risk of falling, or even on some emotions that the person might be experiencing. However, the device pose no health hazard, as cellphones emit 100 times more radiation.

WiGait is useful to analyze walking trends for a longer period of time. The occurrence of great changes might be an indicative of a health problems. Also, this device is more accurate than typical fitness trackers, so people can find out when it’s the right time to see a medical specialist.
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