Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a device that can measure the walking speed of people with 95 to 99 percent accuracy using wireless signals, without requiring that the person wear or carry a sensor. A growing body of research suggests that how fast one walks could tell a lot about health issues like cognitive decline, falls, and even certain cardiac or pulmonary diseases. By measuring this emerging vital sign, the new device, called "WiGait", could help reveal a wealth of important health information, particularly for the elderly. ‘Wearables like FitBit can only roughly estimate your speed based on your step count; GPS-enabled smartphones are similarly inaccurate and can't work indoors.’ A change in walking speed, for example, could mean an injury or that the person is at an increased risk of falling, according to Professor Dina Katabi of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). The system, presented in a new paper, is an update of a device that Katabi's team developed earlier. The size of a small painting, the device can be placed on the wall of a person's house. It builds on Katabi's previous work that analyses wireless signals reflected off people's bodies to measure a range of behaviours, from breathing and falling to specific emotions. The signals emit roughly 100 times less radiation than a standard cellphone, the researchers said. "By using in-home sensors, we can see trends in how walking speed changes over longer periods of time," said lead author and PhD student Chen-Yu Hsu. "This can provide insight into whether someone should adjust their health regimens, whether that's doing physical therapy or altering their medications," Hsu said. The paper is scheduled to be presented at ACM's CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems to be held from May 6-11, in Colorado. The new device may offer improvements over existing systems of measuring walking speed indoors. Wearables like FitBit can only roughly estimate your speed based on your step count; GPS-enabled smartphones are similarly inaccurate and can't work indoors; and cameras are intrusive and can only monitor one room at a time. WiGait is also 85 to 99 per cent accurate at measuring a person's stride length, which could allow researchers to better understand conditions like Parkinson's disease that are characterised by reduced step size, according to the researchers.Source: IANS << Live in Smoke-Free Communities If You Want To Quit Smoking Supercomputers Assist Doctors to Search Better Cancer Drugs >> Recommended Reading How Walking Benefits the Body and Brain Until recently, the blood supply to the brain (cerebral blood flow or CBF) was thought to be involuntarily regulated by the body. READ MORE Cycling or Walking Linked to Substantial Health Benefits Cycling and walking are linked with health benefits, but there is still some debate about the strength of these associations. READ MORE Walking Boosts Positivity in Advanced Cancer Patients Physical activity commonly declines considerably during treatment and remains low afterwards. READ MORE Walking Improves the Quality of Life in Advanced Cancer Patients Walking three times per week may improve the quality of life among advanced cancer patients, reveals study. READ MORE Body Types and Befitting Workouts Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body. READ MORE Walking As An Exercise People walk for many reasons ranging from pleasure to mental relaxation, finding solitude or for exercise. READ MORE Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss A few extra steps a day are enough to keep you fit. READ MORE Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain? Walking early morning would improve your health as it helps heart and brain to function properly. Find more about its benefits for your body. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia A-Z Drug Brands in India Post-Nasal Drip Blood Donation - Recipients More News on: Body Types and Befitting WorkoutsWalking for Fitness and Weight LossWalking As An ExerciseWho Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain?