July 14 - An Israeli company is developing an inexpensive gait analysis device it believes will help doctors diagnose previously undetected medical conditions. The study of a person's walking style can reveal much about their health, and the company says it can now done at a price that most people can afford. Jim Drury has more.
Software engineer Tal Anker is demonstrating his gait analysis technology. He calls it Sensogo. It's a device that uses sensors strapped to a patients' legs, to measure walking data that could point to underlying medical probems. SOUNDBITE (English) TAL ANKER, CEO, SENSOGO LTD, SAYING: "We extract walking straight data, walking straight kinematic data, out of free walking because gait analysis is done when the patient is walking straight, so we need to extract the data out of the overall free walking data and then we use a proprietary algorithm to detect the gait cycle events." The sensors measure patients' three-dimensional acceleration, rotational speed, and direction of movement. Colleague Avishai Meron says raw kinematic data is sent to a remote Sensogo box, which produces results within minutes. SOUNDBITE (English) AVISHAI MERON, SOFTWARE ENGINEER FOR SENSOGO LTD, SAYING: "That box uploads the data to a web server over the cloud and it uses Sensogo proprietary algorithms to analyse the data and give just an easy to read report, so that the doctor at the clinic or at the rehab centre can read it and just give his diagnosis." Gait analysis is used to assess, plan, and treat individuals with conditions affecting their walking ability. Cerebral palsy and stroke patients are commonly seen in gait labs. But most current systems require X-rays and time-consuming walking sessions that have to be recorded on video. Anker says Sensogo is easier to use and less expensive. He says it could also help detect conditions before they become obvious. SOUNDBITE (English) TAL ANKER, CEO, SENSOGO LTD, SAYING: "There's a potential in neurology, in detection of neurology disorders, prediction of risk in falling of the elderly population. Also arthritis. A bunch of research papers showing the correlation between gait problems and values and the functional status of the patient meaning doctor can have a treatment, the patient goes for a treatment, and then after a month you do another check-up and you see the treatment works. If the gait problem's improved, if the gait problems haven't improved they can switch the treatment." The developers say they are encouraged by successful patient trials conducted at Israel's Barzilai Medical Centre, overseen by Dr Omeri Lubovski. SOUNDBITE (English) DR OMERI LUBOVSKI, PHYSICIAN AT BARZILAI MEDICAL CENTER, AND HEAD OF SENSOGO TRIALS, SAYING: "We hope using the Sensogo will enable us physicians to gather much more information about our patients in their native environment. This will enable us to know much more about their walking abilities and walking parameters in their natural environment." Tal Anker says he hopes Sensogo will be approved for use in the United States and Europe by next year. For the elderly in particular he says, the technology will be a huge step forward.