Open source is driving wearables.
The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is an industry collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing of algorithms and datasets.
The group acts as a community hub, indexing, distributing and benchmarking algorithms… and it insists that it does so openly and transparently.
It acts as a neutral broker, conducting formal, objective benchmarking processes and identifying high-performing algorithms in selected domains.
Wearable technology for research applications company Shimmer Research (an OWEAR co-founder) has said that OWEAR has now uploaded its open source software and datasets database for wearable sensors and other connected health technologies.
“We are proud to announce the release of the OWEAR database, which includes the organisation’s initial index of open source software and datasets, together with validation papers,” said Geoffrey Gill, president of Shimmer Americas.
Gill explains that the datasets are ‘an evolving resource’ and the group is actively encouraging researchers to continue to register algorithms and datasets so it can achieve its shared goal of creating high-quality, sensor-generated health measures that can help streamline drug development and enable digital medicine.
Shimmer’s latest OWEAR contribution is its step-count algorithm.
“There are so many proprietary step-counting algorithms in use, which generate different results from the same data, that clinical researchers cannot compare data across studies employing different wearable sensors. 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,” explained Gill.
OWEAR is also launching the public phase of a DREAM Challenge which will benchmark measures of human walking gait later this year.
The group explains that generating accurate and consistent gait assessments is important because they serve as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for neurological conditions, such as stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and partial paralysis.