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Mobile Solutions

Smart canes give a leg up

Mobile health applications have moved on from just smartphones and tablets and are now being offered in a brand-new generation of walking canes and walkers.

09 May. 2018 Isabelle Reiff
Source: cibX GmbH
Source: cibX GmbH

Spry retirees wield their canes as weapons. If outnumbered by opponents, a modern SmartStick can lend a hand. After all, it features a GPS module including Internet connection and alarm button. One press of the button and emergency personnel are at your side. A simple solution, always at hand, requiring basically no instruction at all. Conceived by students at the University of Münster and worked out with Telekom and cane manufacturer Ossenberg, the SmartStick enables real-time localization with an accuracy of up to ten meters. With its geofence function, it offers additional protection to people suffering from dementia or confusion. A walker with similar functions is also in the pipeline.

Siemens has been collaborating on a similar development since 2016. The Friendly Robot Walker FriWalk is more than just a crutch. The new and improved Rollator 2.0 walker analyzes step length, performance and balance, which gives information on the user’s state of health. In addition, FriWalk also motivates its user to take a walk by recommending destinations tailored to the user’s interests and fitness level. The smart walker was recently tested by seniors in Spain, Italy and England. The EU is backing the ACANTO project with a grant of 4.3 million euros.