As part of its “Internet of Things” research activity, Tyndall National Institute is developing autonomous wearable sensing systems incorporating embedded software, data fusion analytics, energy harvesting sources and Body Area Networking communications.
Specifically, in the area of Health and Fitness, the Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) group has developed expertise in motion monitoring systems development, characterization and validation and has developed system prototypes for arthritis monitoring, gait analysis, connected health monitoring, industrial control and Human Computer Interfacing (HCI) in collaboration with universities (such as University of Ulster, University of Limerick, University College Cork, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Waterford Institute of Technology and others) and private companies (UTRC, Seagate, IBM, Philips, Rambus, PCH International, and so on).
All the mentioned applications require for high-performance sensing systems, which are developed here in Tyndall, low-cost low-power miniaturized customizable accurate and potentially able to perform data processing in real-time on modules with constrained resources, such as a microcontroller.
In particular, gait analysis, e.g. the quantitative assessment of lower-limbs joints in ambulatory or free-living environments with a special focus on the detection of atypical movement characteristics, has drawn a great amount of our attention in the last years with the aim of enhancing the rehabilitation process in people (athletes or patients) suffering from injuries or surgery without the constraints of a lab. Similarly, physical activity monitoring and fall detection algorithms for elderly and disabled people have been considered in order to provide quality care and service and reduce the health impacts of sedentary lifestyle (e.g. the development chronic diseases).
Moreover, wearable activity recognition systems able to monitor human daily activities have been studied for improving the quality of life in many critical areas, such as ambulatory monitoring, home-based rehabilitation, and fall detection, and have also been applied in extreme scenarios (e.g. firefighters working on search & rescue operations).
Finally, gesture recognition, gaming and HCI have drawn our attention through the development of high spec glove-based systems and smart rings. The integration with other technologies (UWB, GPS, barometers, lensless CMOS sensors, etc…) is constantly taken into consideration in order to enhance the overall performance and design novel and efficient fusion analytics.
The WSN group has current engagements with clinicians and funding bodies to develop such biomechanics/fitness monitoring systems which have already resulted in IP being developed, in turn, licensed to Industry Partner and start-ups being spun out of the group.