OWEAR Makes Datasets and Software More Accessible to Aid Research Technology

By Danielle Bradshaw from In The Cloud Copy

Shimmer Research has announced that OWEAR – the Open Wearables Initiative – has decided to make their health technologies, like their database and software for wearable sensors, available to the public.

Geoffrey Gill, the president of Shimmer Americas and OWEAR co-founder has said that the company is very delighted to share the OWEAR database. This “public access” to the technology will have a catalog of open-source software as well as datasets and validation papers so that users will know that everything that has been compiled is on the up and up.

But What Is OWEAR?

OWEAR is a collectivized initiative that encourages the utilization of some of the best estimates of health (which is gathered by sensors) via the open sharing and correlation of datasets and algorithms. Having an assemblage of this kind of data can aid with the creation of new kinds of therapy for patients and improve digital medication.

Understanding How OWEAR Works

OWEAR will function as a kind of centralized meeting place; a hub where open-source algorithms can be cataloged and shared. It will also be able to find algorithms of interest that perform effectively and will act much like a market neutral broker; in other words, the system will offer a sort of transparent connectivity. This is important when it comes to benchmarking as it will allow comparisons of certain processes against others and can help determine what works best.

OWEAR’s database is made up of multiple open-source datasets and software from many different kinds of sensors (like wearables, for example). All of this collected data is made up of the prognostic and diagnostic information of a host of diseases and disorders.

OWEAR’s DREAM Challenges

The DREAM Challenges initiative’s objective is to compare the multiple ways by which gait – the way in which a person walks – can be measured. The way someone walks (if gathered unfailingly and with precision) can provide vital information about health and the progression of all kinds of neurological conditions like traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. The measurement of a person’s gait can also provide insight into cognitive functionality and aging.

During the past ten years or so, the measurement of the gait of Parkinson’s patients has gotten a lot of attention as it has been used to spot changes related to the disease. It also can be used as a means to gauge a patient’s recovery as well as to spot the contrast between normal physical signs and those caused specifically by the illness.

OWEAR’s DREAM Challenges is the culmination of many peoples’ efforts and its overall goal is to eliminate whatever challenges there may be on the road to improving medicine and understanding biology.

A Few Steps Away Keeps the Doctor Away

Shimmer has given its step-count algorithm to OWEAR so that clinical researchers can use it to make gathering step-count data easier and more uniform across wearable devices. This kind of data can be rather hard to gather, so the idea is that if they can streamline gathering this information, they can eventually compile better datasets.

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