Gait Analysis is an established area of research with many applications in fields ranging from medicine and patient rehabilitation to professional sports and performance enhancement. In particular, gait analysis is an important indicator in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
From a clinical perspective, accurate and reliable knowledge of gait characteristics at a given moment, as well as their evaluation over time, allows early diagnosis of diseases and their complications, helping to determine optimal treatment. At the same time, gait characteristics are a useful measure of overall health since it can be used as a predictor of cognitive decline, fall risk assessment, and fall prevention for the elderly. In relation to the latter, balance and gait disorders are among the most common causes of falls in the elderly, and often lead to a reduction in quality of life. Early detection of gait and balance disorders and appropriate intervention can prevent risks and loss of independence.
The main idea of the project is to design and manufacture a smart wearable insole with integrated foot pressure measurement sensors and other necessary micro-electronic devices. This wearable insole rests on a flexible piezoelectric layer which has a completely different architecture compared to the related technologies available internationally.
In this way we can map with great precision the pressures exerted throughout the length and width of the foot, the movement patterns, and the morphology of the gait in general, transferring this information wirelessly for analysis in appropriate computer systems. At the same time, the accompanying software will provide easy-to-use analysis and visualization tools for the complex gait data.
The project also aims to develop specialized services that are used and made possible due to the construction of the above wearable device. These services focus on specific but large population groups.
The research is funded under the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH-CREATE-INNOVATE.