Enter the 2019 R&D 100 Awards!
Strideway is a 2018 R&D 100 Award winner. All of the R&D 100 Awardees were announced at the R&D 100 Awards Gala held in Orlando, Florida on Nov. 16, 2018.
The R&D 100 Awards have served as the most prestigious innovation awards program for the past 57 years, honoring R&D pioneers and their revolutionary ideas in science and technology.
Submissions for the 2019 R&D 100 Awards are now being accepted. Any new technical product or process that was first available for purchase or licensing between January 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, is eligible for entry in the 2019 awards.
A new portable walkway equipped with sensors will help doctors identify issues with a patient’s gait, often before even a limp is noticeable.
Tekscan, a Boston-based technology company, has developed Strideway, a modular, pressure sensitive walkway platform with accompanying software, which allows end users to analyze the gait of patients and produce data regarding key parameters.
In an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine, Robert Podoloff, the CTO of Tekscan, explained what makes the 2018 R&D Award-winning Strideway unique.
“Basically Tekscan has been in the business of making thin film tactile sensors for quite a number of years and we have made a series of products targeted at human gait analysis,” Podoloff said. “One of the things that we were seeing from the marketplace was a desire to have a walkway type system that can be configured in numerous configurations, specifically various lengths to accommodate different clinical settings or examining different anomalies in gait patterns.”
Strideway is a modular platform that provides kinetic, temporal and spatial gait parameters. The system also reads pressure and force data and facilitates comprehensive gait analysis in both clinical and research environments.
The Strideway platform consists of patented thin-film sensors and embedded scanning electronics. The system works by scanning thousands of sensing points within each sensor, followed by instantly relaying that data to a computer through a USB.
“Each tile, we call it a matrix sensor, it is a matrix because it is made up of a series of rows and columns that have a bunch of intersection points,” Podoloff said. “In our sensor that intersection point acts like a pressure sensor and so when you have these spread out over the sensing tile, you can get the actual pressure distribution to a very fine dimensional detail.
“Each one of our tiles is about 24.5 inches on a side and has about 16,000 sensing locations on its surface,” he added. “So you get a very detailed profile of how the foot is striking this tile and we can see things like how the center of force progresses through the foot strike and as the person walks, detecting things like limp conditions and anomalies as they walk.”
Strideway comes with software that allow the end user to easily track progress and analyze data.
“The software is patient centric,” Alyssa Rubino, the Medical and Dental Product Manager at Tekscan, said during the exclusive interview with R&D Magazine. “So the physician can enter a patient and save all the records to that individual patient. When somebody comes in for their first visit they are able to take a recording and get all sorts of information such as temporal and spatial, as well as vertical force and plantar pressure.”
To use the system, a patient walks across a pressure sensitive walkway, allowing the software to collect information about the user’s gait, with key parameters displayed in graphs and tables. The system also provides a symmetrical comparison between the left and right foot strikes.
The biggest thing that Strideway provides is a detailed and underlying look at gat abnormalities, inefficiencies and imbalances, that otherwise would go undetected to the naked eye.
One of the features of the Strideway system is that users have the ability to add length onto the platform to accommodate various patient types or testing conditions. Podoloff said the market has shown the desire for some researchers to test gait patterns with just a meter or two of walking, while others want to view patterns from much longer walking distances.
While the system can be useful for virtually anyone, Podoloff said it is particularly beneficial for three target demographics—young children, the elderly and athletes.
“With pediatric patients, they often can’t tell you what’s wrong or what feels right,” he said. “With geriatric patients, you can see the effectiveness of assistive devices like walkers and crutches.”
Podoloff also said athletes could use Strideway before and after injurie, allowing team doctors and trainers to see data on the user’s balance and pressure on the injured leg or foot.
This system could also aid doctors in gaining insight into concussion recovery using balance data.
Strideway can also help doctors fit patients for a prosthetic or a splint. Veterinarians could also use Strideway for pets.
Podoloff said the main advantage of Strideway is to give doctors and clinicians the ability to quantify walking problems and injury recovery.
“Like a lot of things in nature and physiology, something is good when it is even and balanced, so when something is not even and balanced our system can detect that,” he said. “What the system really allows you to do is to take this from being a qualitative assessment, just looking at the patient, to now a quantitative assessment where you can say oh look 60 percent of their weight is on the left side as opposed to the right, so they are favoring that left side due to injury.”