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April 1, 2020

Gait Keeper

Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed an AI-powered, smart insole that instantly turns any shoe into a portable gait-analysis laboratory. The work could benefit clinical researchers by providing a new way to precisely measure walking function in patients with movement disorders or musculoskeletal injuries, in their living environments. The technology could also lead to significant advances for athletes, by helping them improve their running technique.

Credit: National Science Foundation/Karson Productions

Taking it in stride.

I'm Bob Karson with the Discovery Files, from the National Science Foundation.

(Sound effect: baby music) (Sound effect: baby) One of the first skills a toddler attempts is walking. Followed by a lifetime of perfecting that gait, maybe with help from smart shoes, pods, insoles, step-counters... With all this, humans still don't have a firm footing on how to analyze on site, the simple act of (Sound effect: footsteps) repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other.

There are some high-end gait-analysis technologies -- like camera-based motion-capture systems -- that can only be used in lab settings. Stepping up the game, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed an AI-powered, smart insole that pretty much straps that lab right onto your footsies. (Sound effect: click click)

Their "Sportsole Technology" tells you in real time, the length, the speed and power of your stride. It's got an array of force sensors to detect plantar pressure way better than any mobile system out there. An AI algorithm takes the key info and creates instant gait analysis -- (Sound effect: jogging) whether you're walking or running -- not in a lab, but in the real world.

The team says the technology could provide an inexpensive way to help optimize treatments for people with movement disorders or musculoskeletal injuries. Even help athletes improve their running technique.

A new way to do a bit of 'sole'-searching.

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