Smart Bandages, Vehicle-Damage Trackers and More Data-Collecting Devices of the Future

A team of researchers at Stanford University and the University of Michigan is developing sensors that, when placed on the floor, capture and analyze vibrations created by footsteps in a roughly 60-foot range and assign a signature to a person’s unique footprint. The sensors can capture a range of nuanced data, such as the force applied by a foot to the ground, so they provide more detailed information about gait balance or other subtle features than wearables, says Hae Young Noh, who initially worked on the project as an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon and is now at Stanford. Coupled with algorithms, they can then pick up on anomalies in an individual’s gait and transmit data wirelessly to a cloud-based platform or app accessible to patients that doctors could consult to make a diagnosis, says Dr. Noh.