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Prof Brian Caulfield and his team develop a new platform to monitor concussion

Breakthrough in concussion research from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics

​10 October 2016

Three year Japan/Ireland research collaboration leads to new data system to provide accurate monitoring of patients in recovery from concussion

Dublin, Ireland, October 10 2016: The Insight Centre for Data Analytics today announced the successful completion of the first phase of a project, a collaboration with Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd based in Kawasaki, Japan, to develop a data platform to assist clinicians, physiotherapists and sports coaches in the assessment and monitoring of patients in recovery from concussion.

Assessment and monitoring of concussion is challenging, especially in the case of athletes who may not accurately report symptoms. The 2014-15 Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP), which monitors and analyses the injury risk of premiership rugby players, found that concussion was the most commonly reported match injury for the fourth consecutive season amounting to approximately 17% of all match injuries.

The new platform, known as the KIDUKU[1][2] system, has been devised by a team of physiotherapists, engineers, programmers and data visualisation experts to provide clinicians with direct, easy-to-interpret sensor readings across a range of indicators such as gait, posture and balance.

Readings are taken using low cost, off-the-shelf sensor technology and uploaded to the cloud via smartphones. The Fujitsu/Insight team have developed algorithms to interpret the readings, which can then be provided directly to the clinician in user-friendly formats.

The sensors can be used to capture motion data in step down care settings and in non-clinical environments throughout the day, giving clinicians a more objective and accurate portrait of the patient’s movement and recovery over time.

The system will be presented at the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport, to be held in Berlin, Germany on October 27-28, 2016. The event brings together world leading scientists and clinical experts to review the latest scientific evidence on sport concussion http://concussion-consensus.com/index.php

“Traditional monitoring of concussion is based on in-clinic observation and patient reports,” says Professor Brian Caulfield, director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and UCD Dean of Physiotherapy. “Patients routinely perform better in standard motion tests under observation. By analysing data from these sensors whilst in the home or exercising, we can get a more accurate picture of how a patient is moving and balancing.”

This information is critical in the monitoring of concussion, which impairs key actions such as gait initiation, or the transition from standing to walking. The KIDUKU system will enable those working with athletes to assess recovery more objectively and to make safer decisions regarding return to play after injury.

The KIDUKU Project began as a research initiative to provide monitoring services and assisted independent living for senior citizens. 

Researchers developed a range of sensors, data visualisation techniques and analysis technologies to monitors patients’ daily movement patterns. The result led to a system that has application potential in a number of clinical scenarios, yet is particularly suited to concussion monitoring. Coaches and physiotherapists can use the sensors to collect accurate baseline results in healthy players. These results provide a comparator during the concussion recovery process.

This unique, multifaceted system has the potential to be developed for other conditions and patient groups.

Overview of the Joint Research

Small sensors worn by patients are used to collect biomechanical and physiological information, in the clinic, at home or outdoors. Bringing together the insights of physiotherapists, data visualisation and analysis technologies, Fujitsu Laboratories and Insight developed a system that returns accurate, easy-to-read results direct to the clinician regarding key indicators for concussion.

What is "KIDUKU"?

The project's name, KIDUKU, captures the essence of two Japanese words, both pronounced "kiduku," with the first meaning "to be aware" and the second, "to construct." The idea of being aware has to do with the ability to observe changes in different conditions, such as an individual's health, which can lead to changes in behaviour and the offering of new support services. For this purpose, Fujitsu aims to "construct" a knowledge platform that provides services to help patients gain a heightened sense of awareness. The company also seeks to build senior citizen-oriented solutions that employ this system and are useful in everyday life. By collaborating with the Insight Centre in Ireland on this project, Fujitsu is seeking to build a closer relationship between Ireland and Japan.

About the Insight Centre for Data Analytics

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics was established in 2013 by Science Foundation Ireland to bring together the significant data science expertise available in Ireland. Insight now comprises over 400 data researchers across a range of areas from data capture and storage to data mining, analysis and modelling. The Insight Centre for Data

Since its establishment in 2013 the Centre has made significant advances in a range of data research areas from connected health to smart cities to recommender systems. The Centre has secured the largest share of H2020 funding in Ireland and Insight researchers are working with the global data community at the highest level.

 [1] Research project to support independent living

See “Fujitsu Launches Research Project to Provide Health Monitoring Technologies and Assisted Independent Living for Smart House Residents in Ireland” (June 28, 2013 press release). For more information, please see:  http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2013/0628-01.html

[2] Technology for early detection of irregularities in motor function

See “Fujitsu Develops Technology for early detection of irregularities in motor function using a sensory smart house” (March 10, 2015 press release). For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2015/0310-02.ht

 The collaboration and Kiduku itself has been covered in Silicon Republic here and you can read about it on RTE.ie here.