According to scientists walking speed can be an indicator of health issues such as cognitive decline, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease or future falls. Up until now measuring walking speed (i.e. gait velocity) has not been trouble free. Timing subjects with a stopwatch often has them walk faster or slower than they would normally do. Devices such as fitness trackers or GPS-enabled smartphones are not always accurate and of limited use indoors. Other invasive methods include using a depth-sensing camera in the patient's home with footage to be analysed later.
A team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a no-contact system that measures a person's true walking speed wirelessly. The WiTrack system was designed by a team led by Prof. Dina Katabi. Without having to wear any tracking devices other than a marker, the system tracks subjects and feedbacks the data for analysis. It is able to determine walking speed (and any changes in it) with a claimed accuracy of 95 to 99 percent. It's also 85 to 99 percent accurate at measuring their stride length, which is known to decrease due to conditions such as Parkinson's disease. Additionally, the system is able to distinguish walking from other activities, such as cleaning.