The main idea of the project is to design and build a smart, wearable, and shoe-integrated insole system, which will be able to monitor foot pressure, movement patterns, and gait morphology in general, transferring this information with wireless mode for analysis on suitable mobile or desktop computing systems.
At the same time, the accompanying software will provide easy-to-use tools for analyzing and visualizing the complex gait data and gait phases in the form of graphs and other analytical formats. Apart from the main targeting, i.e. the development of a smart wearable insole, the project also aims to develop specialized services that will be used and made possible due to the construction of the above wearable device.
In addition, the prospects for energy harvesting will be explored. In particular, we will seek to harvest energy from the human body – a combination of mechanical and thermal energy naturally generated by bio-organisms or through actions such as walking – with the aim of powering our wearable sensor, which will increase functionality, autonomy and perfect its usability.
The main innovative features of the project are: a) the development of a new wearable sensor with a different architecture from existing approaches, b) the development of advanced spatiotemporal signal processing algorithms and c) the development of innovative machine learning and pattern recognition (deep learning) methods for the analysis of movement patterns and gait morphology. These technological innovations will form the basis for the design of new services for the early diagnosis of specific pathological conditions, the monitoring of their evolution, and the evaluation of the use of wearable sensor platforms as clinical diagnostic tools.
In particular, we propose the development of a flexible piezoelectric layer which will be based on a completely different architecture in relation to the state-of-the-art, giving the possibility to use the device either as a shoe insole or integrated into the sole of the shoe. At the same time, the proposed device is able to collect data unobtrusively, in any environment and for long periods of time. The advantages of the proposed solution as well as the technological challenges that should be addressed are presented in the following table.