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sMAP – Smart Mobility for the Aging Population

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Smart Mobility for the Aging Population


The proportion of older adults (aged 65 and older) worldwide has been increasing steadily over the past 40 years. In Canada, it has been projected that seniors will represent up to 25% of the total population by 2036. Mobility is a crucial indicator of functional status, and a predictor of quality of life and longevity; hence, it is often called the sixth vital sign. Recent advancements in mobile technologies, artificial intelligence, embedded and sensing devices create exciting opportunities to address mobility challenges faced by the aging population. The NSERC-funded sMAP CREATE program is a multi-university, multi-disciplinary program aiming to foster a world-class, collaborative training environment and provide highly qualified personnel with unique experiential training opportunities centered around technologies and best practices for smart mobility for the aging population.

The project is led by PI Dr. Rong Zheng (Dept. of Computing and Sofware, McMaster) with multiple co-PIs across McMaster (including Dr. Paula Gardner) as well as the University of Windsor and Manitoba.

The sMAP CREATE program aims to train highly qualified personnel with translational technical skills in hardware-software co-design, multi-modal data analytics, hybrid modeling, and the application of these technical skills to develop novel solutions with a direct impact on older adult care.

  • Improve highly qualified personnel (HQP)’s understanding of mobility in aging, i.e., trajectory of mobility status in health and disease, and from function to impairment.
  • Advance HQP’s technical skills in the development of solutions for continuous monitoring, assessing, maintaining and restoring mobility.
  • Develop HQP’s professional skills in communication and relationships, entrepreneurism, responsible research, and project management.

Pulse Lab is involved in various aspects of the sMAP project. Dr. Zheng (PI) leads the sMAP program, teaching annual modules on computation and software design as well as the second semester team project development co-designed with community members. Dr. Gardner co-teaches an annual module on human centered design with Dr. Brenda Vrkljan (Rehab Sciences, McMaster) and Dr. Celine Latulipe (Univesrity of Manitoba).  All sMAP faculty participate in mentoring the diverse student cohort across their experience in the program.

Over the first three years Dr. Gardner has sponsored three graduate students (Communication Studies/Media Arts) as sMAP program trainees, including Jess Rauchberg, Katie Huckson and Natasha Malik.


EFECT is supported by the following organizations:

McMaster Institute for Research on AgingGERAS Centre for AgingHamilton Health SciencesTactile RoboticsNSERC

Latest from sMAP

Headshot of Dr. Rong Zheng against a white background

Brighter World News  ➚

Engineering team awarded NSERC funding to help older adults improve mobility

# Front Page, Current Projects, Dr. Rong Zheng, People, sMAP