Sheffield Uni lands €2.1m for walking tech

Written by Hannah McGrath

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have been awarded a €2.1 million to fund development of technology to assess how well people walk – considered to be a key indicator of health and wellbeing.

The digital monitoring project, led by the university’s Insigneo Institute - which will also include researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - will involve placing small ‘in silico’ sensors on a patient’s body to measure gait and mobility.

This is considered crucial because poor gait, especially walking slowly, is associated with earlier death, greater risk of disease, cognitive decline, dementia and an increased risk of falls.

In silico testing takes billions of data points to build computer simulations of biological processes, as part of the emerging field of computational biology.

The EU-funded research is part of the Mobilise-d HealthTech project, bringing together 34 international universities and some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and tech companies.

Increasing life expectancy, coupled with the number of people living with chronic health conditions, means that more people are coping with mobility loss.

Mobilise-d will focus on digital mobility assessment being recognised for the analysis and treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, hip fracture recovery and congestive heart failure.