OWEAR Opens Software and Datasets to Promote Technology in Research

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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OWEAR initiative

The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is making public its software and database for wearable sensors and other related-health technologies to assist clinical research, Shimmer Research announced.

“We are proud to announce the release of the OWEAR database, which includes the organization’s initial index of open source software and datasets, together with validation papers,” Geoffrey Gill, president of Shimmer Americas and an OWEAR co-founder, said in a press release.

OWEAR is a collaborative effort that promotes the use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in research by openly sharing and comparing algorithms and datasets. Aggregating this information can help in the development of new therapies and the use of digital medicine.

To do so, OWEAR will serve as a community hub to index and distribute open source algorithms. It will also identify well-performing algorithms in areas of high interest, while acting as a “neutral broker” in their benchmarking in select domains.

The OWEAR database consists of various open-source software and data sets from wearables and other types of sensors, which provide valuable diagnostic and prognostic information on a variety of disorders.

Part of the initiative includes the upcoming launch of the public phase of OWEAR’s DREAM Challenges, the goal of which is to benchmark various measures of gait. Consistent and accurate gait measurements provide crucial diagnostic information about the state and progression of neurological disorders, including stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and partial paralysis, as well as assessments of aging and cognitive function.

Measuring gait quality among Parkinson’s patients has attracted considerable attention over the past decade, being used to monitor patient recovery, determine differences between normal and pathological physical signs, and to alert patients and caregivers to motor fluctuations related to the disease.

DREAM Challenges are crowd-sourced, collaborative science efforts aimed at overcoming challenges in biology and medicine. A few sponsorships for the OWEAR challenge are still available, Shimmer reports. More information is available by sending an email to [email protected].

Shimmer recently contributed its step-count algorithm to OWEAR. Measuring how many steps a person takes in one day is a common measure of healthy lifestyle, but because of the proprietary nature of many algorithms, data from different devices can be difficult to compare.

“By donating this open source algorithm, we hope to enable clinical researchers to use the same algorithm across wearables and projects and so gain access to much richer datasets,” Gill said.

Gill will talk about these OWEAR initiatives during a presentation called “The Open Wearables Initiative: Helping Realize the Potential of Wearables to Revolutionize Clinical Trials” set for Friday, June 11, at 11 a.m. EST. The talk is part of the Wearables and Medical IoT Interoperability and Intelligence Virtual Talk Series being hosted by IEEE. Registration for this free webinar is available here.