MIT's WiGait uses wireless signals to step up detection of health issues

MIT CSAIL researchers create wireless technology for continuously — and unobtrusively — measuring walking speed in an effort to detect signs of cognitive and other health deteriorations

Professor Dina Katabi's endlessly inventive team at MIT's CSAIL outfit has now come up with what it says is an unobtrusive way to wirelessly detect possible health issues via changes in walking speed.

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) claims its WiGait system is more accurate than wearables like FitBits and smartphone-based step trackers, and they outline the technology in a new paper titled "Extracting Gait Velocity and Stride Length from Surrounding Radio Signals" to be presented at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The researchers claim WiGait, a wall-mounted device described as being the size of a small painting, is 95% to 99% accurate at measuring walking speeds of multiple people and requires no wearable gear on its targets.

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Changes in walking speed is being found by researchers to be a possible sign of cognitive, cardiac and other health issues.

WiGait is designed to use about one-hundredth the amount of radiation of a typical smartphone, so in theory it won't be doing any damage while sniffing out possible health issues. It borrows from Katabi's earlier WiTrack work by analyzing a person's movements based on the wireless signals bouncing off of them.

Check out the video below for more on WiGait.

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