Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

SFI Funding success for collaborative project between DIT & RCSI School of Physiotherapy

01 January 2005

SFI Funding success for collaborative project between DIT & RCSI School of Physiotherapy

Photo: (L to R) Professor Brian Harvey RCSI, Dr Frances Horgan RCSI, Dr Tony Betts DIT, Professor Frank Gannon, SFI, Mr Batt O'Keefe, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Ms Louise Keating RCSI, Dr Max Ammann DIT

Dr Frances Horgan and Ms Louise Keating at the RCSI School of Physiotherapy will collaborate with DIT Electronic & Communications Engineering Department on a footwear telemetry project funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

The project ‘Footwear Telemetry Antennas for the Next Generation of Body-Centric Sensor Networks' is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Principal Investigator Programme. The project was one of 27 pioneering projects announced by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keefe on April 28th 2010.

The research team is led by Dr Max Ammann, Dublin Institute of Technology and is a partnership with Dr Frances Horgan and Ms Louise Keating at the School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The 5-year research project with funding of over 0.5 million euro will address the challenges of human interaction with electromagnetic communications antennas in order to facilitate viable radio links from footwear to electronic data-analysis systems.

The outcomes should allow new intelligent footwear systems to integrate wirelessly with body area networks. DIT and RCSI will collaborate on advanced computer modelling and laboratory measurements to understand and optimise footwear antenna performances.

The collaborative research team will address the antenna engineering issues and the physiological requirements with the objective of minimising the antenna influences on a user's natural gait, balance or stride. The antenna facilities are all located in the DIT but the collaborative programme will use the RCSI physiotherapy movement analysis laboratory.
Small antennas integrated with footwear will be an enabling technology for a wide range of innovative wireless applications in the medical, occupational and leisure sectors. Among these, it is anticipated that new sensor devices will reduce health service costs for fall-prone patients and will offer in-depth analysis to high-calibre athletic training.