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Measuring Your Walking Speed with Wireless Signals

walking speed
Unlike most devices that monitor walking speed, MIT’s WiGait is not a wearable.

How fast you walk might predict health problems like pulmonary diseases and cognitive decline. Walking too slowly might show your risk for lung, nervous system, and heart problems. Researchers involved with a recent MIT study discovered that people who walk slower than 0.6 m/s might have increased risk for poor health. Although knowing the walking speed helps foresee these problems, it is difficult to measure it correctly.

Monitoring Your Walking Speed

Physical therapists normally use a stopwatch to monitor the walking speed of a patient. However, there are other ways to monitor your speed. For instance, fitness trackers like Fitbit can provide these measurements. Despite this, fitness trackers aren’t always the best solution. Their measurements might not always be exact and some can cause unwanted side-effects. Particularly, some Fitbit users complained about rashes and blisters.

Wireless Signals For Measuring Walking Speed

Researchers at MIT have now developed a device that can measure walking speed without causing any of the usual problems. WiGait is its name, it works via wireless signals, and it is around 98% accurate. The device is also particularly safe because it emits less radiation than a phone.

Unlike most gadgets that monitor walking speed, this device is not a wearable. You can place WiGait on the outside wall of the house. It is the size of a small painting and it measures your activity wirelessly. Although it can’t be carried around, it is better at measuring your walking speed than other fitness trackers.

WiGait is not a fitness tracker, yet it can provide important health information. Because it’s so accurate, it can help people know if they have a developing health issue or if they need to see a physician. The device can observe all  changes in walking speed. For instance, WiGait can observe if a person is starting to walk slower all of the sudden. This tells the device that the person might have a serious imbalance.The feedback system can furthermore determine when that person needs medical assistance. This device can be used by the elderly, among others, to make sure that they are OK during a quick walk.

“Many avoidable hospitalizations are related to issues like falls, congestive heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which have all been shown to be correlated to gait speed,” said Dina Katabi, developer of the device.

What is your opinion about this device? Would you trade it for your regular Fitbit or would you use them at the same time? We’re looking forward to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Image source: Pexels

About Donna Griggs

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