Open Wearables Initiative Seeks Industry Data, Algorithms

By Clinical Research News Staff

October 27, 2020 | The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is evaluating a significant expansion of its vision and seeking industry input to build consensus.

OWEAR was founded in Sept. 2019 by Shimmer Research, a leader in wearable technology for research applications, as an industry collaboration to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research. OWEAR.org serves as a community hub for indexing and distributing open source algorithms and digital health data.

OWEAR is actively seeking open source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected devices technologies to build the database of resources for the community. OWEAR does not host data, instead focusing on aggregating resources and collecting the metadata required to make it easier for researchers to find and pick the algorithms that meet their needs the best. OWEAR means to serve as a neutral broker to conduct formal and objective bench marking of algorithms in selected domains.

“We are excited and energized by what OWEAR has been able to achieve in its first year. We also recognize that there are other meaningful ways in which OWEAR could employ open source software and collaborate to develop accepted digital endpoints,” said Geoffrey Gill, OWEAR co-founder and president of Shimmer Americas in a press release. “As OWEAR is most effective when we all work together, we decided to solicit input from the entire clinical research community to shape our expanded vision.”

OWEAR’s progress to date has been guided by its 22-member Working Group, which includes participants from Shimmer Research, Nextbridge Health, Accelting, Sage Bionetworks, DiMe, Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, PRA Health Sciences, Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) and the IEEE Standards Association.

As the OWEAR Working Group realized the extent of the industry need and desire for this level of collaboration, it began to consider additional programs. For example, it is now developing OWEAR’s first Gait Challenge, which is designed to benchmark the accuracy and reliability of gait assessment algorithms. Precise gait measurements are vitally important because they are used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for neurological conditions, a general assessment of aging, and as a proxy for evaluating cognition. The OWEAR Gait Challenge is envisioned to act as a template for future Challenges around other wearable sensor based digital outcomes.

OWEAR’s Working Group has defined several new areas where the organization could play a pivotal role. They include providing support for developers, creating open databases, initiating broader validation efforts, and setting industry standards.

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to share their views on these potential new programs and other areas of interest with OWEAR at www.OWEAR.org.

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