Motion-tracking onesie keeps tabs on babies' movements
In order to assess an infant's neurological development, it's necessary to analyze the manner in which they spontaneously move within a natural environment. A new high-tech jumpsuit could make doing so easier and more accurate than ever before.
Ordinarily, a baby's "spontaneous and voluntary movements" are observed when the child is visiting a pediatrician's office. Unfortunately, this only provides a picture of how the infant is behaving in that particular unfamiliar setting, during a relatively short period of time.
As part of the Rhythms in Infant Brain (RIB) project, scientists at Finland's University of Helsinki developed the prototype jumpsuit as an alternative.
It's equipped with multiple Movesense motion sensors, manufactured by Finnish company Suunto. As the child wears the suit at home, over the course of an entire day, those sensors track and record its movements as it goes about its usual baby business.
When the suit is returned to the clinic the next day, the recorded movement data is wirelessly transmitted from the sensors to an app on the pediatrician's smartphone. That app, designed by German startup Kaasa, utilizes artificial intelligence-based algorithms to process the data, determining if any developmental issues are indicated.
The garment is designed for infants aged at least five months old, and was recently successfully tested on a group of 22 seven-month-old babies. It was found that the jumpsuit was at least as good as manual analysis of video recordings of the children's movements, when it came to quantifying infant motility.
"This is a revolutionary step forward," says the lead scientist, Prof. Sampsa Vanhatalo. "The measurements provide a tool to detect the precise variation in motility from the age of five months, something which medical smart clothes have not been able to do until now."
A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Source: University of Helsinki