Jerusalem, Israel: Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, said that the GPS used by motorists worldwide, could also drive a wide range of other commercial and medical applications.
Issacson and Professor Noam Shoval developed a system that tracks the location of individuals for a period of time, by a carried GPS device. The information is then correlated and analysed by the computer to make maps that show the volume of activity in a given area over a certain period of time. The system is already in operation at the Port Aventura theme park in Spain, and the developers point to promising medical avenues.
Michal Isaacson, a doctoral student at the university’s Geography Department, said that her work with GPS systems could help understand how crowds interact in different settings, such as urban areas, shopping malls, theme parks, national parks and other tourist attractions.
Dr. Yair Barzilay of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and the Orthopedic Surgery Unit at Hadassah University Hospital is helping develop the medical side of the idea. Yair said, “Patients after surgery carry a GPS unit, as they gradually move around more and more during the course of recovery. The time and movement data is then analysed to gauge their improvement and well- being.”
According to the newsletter by the university, additional sensors would allow cross- referencing the GPS data with physiological metrics, such as heart rate and blood pressure to get an even clearer picture of the patient’s health and mobility. The university named Isaacson as first-prize winner at an annual competition. Her work was featured in professional articles and in a book she co-authored with Shoval.
The university’s technology transfer company, Yissum, licensed the technology an American firm for further medical development and commercialisation.