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Research on next-generation fitness tracker receives Lux-Quebec grant

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Publié le jeudi 16 juin 2022

NextStepEI (Next level step monitoring in health, sports and medicine by augmenting gait with meaningful environmental information), a new bilateral research project co-coordinated by teams at the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) and other international partners from Quebec, has been conferred the AUDACE grant – a joint funding initiative of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Quebec Research Fund (FRQ).

The goal of the NextStepEI project is to create the next-generation fitness tracker which will not only function as a step counter but will also guide your physical activity routine by providing vital information about the “context” of your workout (walking or running). 

The fitness trackers that are available today are mainly designed to monitor your steps. However, they fall behind when it comes to factoring in the context in which a certain physical activity takes place – for example, the inclination of the ground (flat or up-/downhill) or the type of surface you walked / ran on (hard/soft, smooth/rough) or the path curvature (straight/cornered). NextStepEI will address this gap by developing new analysis methods for activity monitors and fitness trackers. This will help them detect and evaluate the walking / running surface conditions, a relevant and important information for patients and athletes, especially for those suffering from knee-related problems (for example, osteoarthritis, instability etc.). 

The effectiveness of this study will mean that a new generation of activity monitors and fitness trackers can become available in the near future, which will help patients or athletes optimise their rehabilitation or training; and help doctors and coaches to prescribe more effective treatments or exercise plans. 

It is a collaborative project where patients, athletes, doctors and scientists will work closely within the framework of a co-creation process to ensure that the enhanced monitoring devices are user friendly, the new measurements are understandable and meaningful for patients, and are valuable to doctors, coaches and scientists, and can be easily used for better treatments or training. 

The initiative is being co-coordinated by Prof. Christophe Ley, associate professor at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Luxembourg, Dr. Bernd Grimm (LIH), Dr. Romain Seil (CHL) and by international partners from the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Jewish General Hospital and the Université du Québec à Montréal. The team comprises researchers whose expertise range from physical activity and orthopedics to biomechanics and urban environments.

About the AUDACE grant

AUDACE is an original research programme that has been pioneered by the FRQ over the past years. The goal of this programme is to support bold research that offers a departure from traditional approaches. For the purposes of this programme, “bold” refers to the ability of the researchers and their project to go beyond the existing paradigms of their respective scientific cultures and fields of research. Thus, AUDACE supports exploratory inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral initiatives with the potential to radically transform research and creation. 

Source: FNR's AUDACE programme page