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STTR Phase I: SmartRun Monitor for Gait and Form Analytics

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1914165
Agency Tracking Number: 1914165
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: BM
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-06-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-05-31
Small Business Information
411 Wolf Ledges Pkwy STE 100, Akron, OH, 44311
DUNS: 080071894
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 R Swiger
 (330) 655-2153
 rthom99@gmail.com
Business Contact
 R Swiger
Phone: (330) 655-2153
Email: rthom99@gmail.com
Research Institution
 University of Akron
 Jae-Won T Choi
 302 Buchtel Common
Akron, OH, 44325
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This STTR Phase I project will scale up and characterize a new pressure sensor technology that has the potential to create an affordable, accessible shoe insert that accurately measures, stride-for-stride, an individual's gait (running or walking form) in real time and in the real world. Gait analysis is used in a wide variety of settings. However, the use of gait analysis to prevent injury, improve mobility and improve patients' lives has been hampered because it is constrained to use within medical facilities. The proposed novel sensor system has the ability to collect objective data on both pace and gait/foot strike to give a clear picture of how a person actually moves outside of a laboratory setting. The device would enable better coaching data to train athlete form to prevent running injuries which afflict 32 million U.S. distance runners each year; ongoing monitoring and prediction of gait and balance issues in Americans over age 65, about 11.5 million of whom fall each year leading to 2.3 million serious injuries; and force data which clinicians can correlate to the onset of diabetic foot ulcers, which occur in 1.8 million chronic diabetic patients each year. This STTR Phase I project seeks to develop gait monitor that combines a novel, low-cost, robust and conformable pressure sensing technology that can detect both normal and shear forces with an accelerometer and electronics to process and analyze this data. Unlike existing commercial tactile sensors, the technology consists of stretchable electrodes for signal transmission and ionic liquid-based polymeric composite having piezoresistivity for shear and normal stress measurements. While the proposed sensor has been fabricated in small quantities and tested in laboratory settings, exploration of material formulations and sensor configurations must be undertaken alongside testing that more closely approximates gait analysis product requirements. Key goals under the STTR Phase I project are to investigate the impact of a range of material formulations on normal and shear force measurements, explore how sensor configurations affect normal and shear force measurements with a focus on the complexity of signal processing and sensor sensitivity, and prove the suggested shear sensors are suitable for shoe insert applications. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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