Smart Walker Project - An AI Perspective

Speaker: Pascal Poupart, Allan Caine, Farheen Omar and Adam Hartfield

Walkers are becoming an increasingly popular mobility aid among older adults. While they are designed to improve balance, the fact that many walkers have wheels, it is not clear whether stability is enhanced or jeopardized. This is further exacerbated by the fact that older adults often have reduced motor and cognitive abilities that often lead to unsafe usage (e.g., lean too much on walker, forget to use the brakes). In fact, the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre reports that 1164 emergency visits were due to walker related falls in Canada in 2004-2005. Furthermore, the popularity of walkers induce important logistical issues in long-term care facilities to keep track of walkers since seniors must often park their walker away from their seat in the dining area to avoid clogging up alleys, they forget their walker or they take someone else's walker.

The long-term goal of the Smart Walker Project is to designnew walker prototypes instrumented with sensors and actuators that can improve stability, monitor various health indices of users, relay this information to caregivers and assist users with various tasks. This is a multidisciplinary research effort that combines the expertise of several researchers in Computer Science, Systems Design Engineering, Mechatronics, Kinesiology, and Recreation and Leisure studies. However, this presentation will focus on the AI research performed by Allan Caine, Adam Hartfiel, Farheen Omar, Richard Mann and Pascal Poupart. We will describe the current walker prototype (originally developed by Bill sion and machine learning that are being tackled for user recognition and behaviour recognition will be described.

The presenters are Allan Caine, Farheen Omar, Adam Hartfiel and Pascal Poupart. This is joint work with James Tung, Bill McIlroy, Matt Snyder, Tracy McWhirt, Eric Roy, Hao Chen, Omar Zia Khan, Jay Black, Richard Mann, Samantha Ng, Adel Fakih, John Zelek, Jan Huissoon and Sherry Dupuis. This research is done in collaboration with the Village of Winston Park, the UW-Schlegel Research Institute for Aging and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. McIlroy