FriWalk: New high-tech robotic mobility walker cum personal trainer
Under the EU’s ACANTO project researchers from six different European countries collaborated to take mobility walker concept to the next level. These researchers are working on development of the Friendly Robot Walker or FriWalk – a four wheeled walker equipped with technologies that will not only assist the elderly and disabled in walking, but also gather data about users overall health and even provide inputs like a personal trainer. Best part is that it will allow user’s friends or relatives to feed their own ideas for different physical activities via an accompanying FriTablet device. FriWalk has integrated cameras, sensors and contactless heart monitor for a completely unique walking experience.
It can also recognize facial expressions to detect emotional health of a patient too. Expression of user while performing a particular activity would suggest whether user was comfortable with it or found it inconvenient.
FriWalk works with special pressure-sensitive insoles. When worn by a user, the walker can measure position of their feet, orientation, amount of pressure exerted on ground etc. All this information, gathered for over a long period of time, can help healthcare experts measure overall health of a patient.
According to Siemens, one of the partners assisting in development of FriWalk:
Our goal is to have one version of the walker for hospitals and a less expensive version that costs less than €2,000 for families. It is important to ensure that the technology does not put too much stress on seniors. Our system is designed to look the same as a conventional walking aid, which is why we have made all the sensors as inconspicuous as possible.
On larger canvas, FriWalk is envisioned as pool of cyberphysical social network where groups can share information with its members. The FriWalk is scheduled to be tested in Spain, Italy, and England. Project’s closing date is 2018 and European Commission.