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Walk-It: Home-based walking speed assessment technology for improved health track

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43AG041566-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43AG041566
Amount: $149,972.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PA11-096
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 155118362
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (828) 645-1026
Business Contact
Phone: (828) 645-1026
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This SBIR project will create a new tool to improve health tracking of older adults in research and in clinical settings by automating user-friendly, in-home assessment of walking speed, which has emerged as one of thestrongest predictors of health status and life expectancy among older adults. It is predictive of institutionalization, morbidity, and mortality and sensitive to changes which, in decline, are associated with worsening health, increased hospitalization utilization, and higher associated health care costs. Currently, administration of a walking speed assessment requires either a home visit or laboratory visit for measurement. While easy to administer, neither alternative is feasible for users geographicallydistant from the study site. Furthermore, even when possible, such visits often add substantial cost to research budgets. Technology has advanced sufficiently to the point where we can develop tools that render home or laboratory visits unnecessary for accurate assessment of walking speed, also termed gait speed. The availability of this technology, coupled with the growing awareness of its importance as a prognosticator of health and functional status, should also open the door to wide clinical use. In this application, we present a plan for creating a proof of concept product to achieve this goal. Our technical concept leverages readily-available electronics, avoiding many of the problems associated with manufacturing custom hardware sensing devices. Using extensive feedback from end users, researchers, and clinicians, we will conduct focus groups, collect example walking data, and perform usability evaluations. At the conclusion of the grant, we will demonstrate the performance of the resulting system with a group of 20 older adults, with which the accuracy of the speed measurements and the usability of the interface will be shown. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The RandD in this Phase I SBIR project will result in proof of concept of an approach to enabling in-home, user-friendly gait-speed assessment, a valuable indicator of health status that currently can be accurately measured only with a home or laboratory visit. When commercialized, this technology will enable gait-speed assessment for research studies currently limited to self-reports of health status and significantly reduce costs in research projects currently relying on home or laboratory visits for gait speed assessment. As the clinical relevance of gait speed becomes more widely known, a trendbeing seen today, this product has the potential to be a powerful and cost-effective tool for monitoring the health and status of older adults as part of the healthcare system.

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

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