NEW SPIN-OFF FROM KU LEUVEN COMBINES BIOMECHANICAL EXPERTISE AND AI
Sports without pain or injuries, it is the wish of every athlete and also the goal of RunEASI, a new spin-off from KU Leuven. The RunEASI wearable measures the load experienced by runners and provides scientific feedback that can help treat and prevent injuries. The spin-off, which is part of Start it @KBC, can count on support from the Gemma Frisius Fund and the Freshmen investment fund.
Traditionally, runners use a heart rate monitor, but it does not provide insight into the load on the muscles, bones and tendons. However, it is this load that determines the risk of injury. RunEASI – originated from a collaboration between movement and computer scientists from KU Leuven – has therefore developed an application that does map these important parameters.
This is done by means of a sensor, which is attached to the lower back with a belt and connected to an app. The sensor measures the load on the body while walking and the app provides feedback to improve the walking pattern. It is the first application that can perform such analysis and intervention in a scientifically validated way. The application will be released in mid-February.
The athletes from the Runner’s lab Athletics Team test RunEASI. | © KU Leuven – Rob Stevens
Stability, symmetry and impact
“We try to make the link between the way someone walks, the load that comes with it and the risk of injury,” says professor of biomechanics Benedicte Vanwanseele. “Three parameters are central: stability, symmetry and impact.”
“We know from research that instability increases as a runner becomes fatigued. If this is accompanied by a high load, the risk of overuse injuries increases. Symmetry shows whether the load is evenly distributed between left and right: after an injury, a For example, the runner will unconsciously put less weight on one leg. After all, impact indicates how the body reacts to the shocks during walking. “
“Our tool indicates when the runner has an adverse or stressful gait pattern,” says computer science professor Jesse Davis. “With the help of AI we can analyze when the body is most stressed. This can be explained by the surface, the pace, the duration of the training, fatigue of the runner … On the basis of this analysis, coaches and physiotherapists can perform the training. adjust and avoid overloading the runners.
More insight and better guidance
“With RunEASI, we want to help runners, whether professional or recreational, to achieve their goals with less risk of overuse or injury,” said co-founders Kurt Schütte (CEO) and Tim Op De Beéck (CTO). “Our unique sensor mount, developed in collaboration with the orthopedic experts at Arch Support, allows us to measure our new movement parameters in a very efficient and accurate way. an injury. “
“We strongly believe in digital tools that make the user’s life better, and that ambition is also reflected in RunEASI”, says Steven Spittaels of the Freshmen investment fund. “It is an application that, through its scientific feedback, can be of great value to runners and healthcare professionals. Athletes naturally want to know how to stay injury-free and we want to support RunEASI to help achieve this.”
“We are very grateful for the trust and investment of the Gemma Frisius Fund and Freshmen”, says CEO Kurt Schütte. “With their support we can realize our ambitions to get people to exercise more and better.”