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Artificial cloud intelligence prevents occupational injuries and RSI

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Case PreCure

PreCure is a start-up business developing products that can prevent wear and tear injuries and improve rehabilitation. The emphasis is on wearables, and the company is expecting to launch its first product, PreCure Elbow, in 2019. This product will be focusing on one of the major occupational injuries of our age – eyesight.

Danish company PreCure is working in close partnership with Innofactor to allow artificial intelligence in Microsoft Azure to analyse sensor data and alert users when they are moving in a way that may lead to serious occupational injury.

"More than 60,000 people in Denmark are affected by RSI and wear and tear injuries in their arms and shoulders. These injuries may be very painful, and they may be suffered by all kinds of people – office and factory workers, slaughterhouse workers, bus drivers and many others," says Søren Würtz, partner of the start-up company PreCure ApS.

"Pain and discomfort are frequently only noticed when the tissue has been damaged. This is where our product – PreCure Elbow – comes in. It helps people to adopt new, more appropriate working positions before any serious damage occurs," he explains.

PreCure Elbow is made up of a fabric sleeve equipped with sensors, a smartphone app and a cloud solution based on Microsoft Azure. The sleeve records muscle signals and other data and transmits them to the cloud, using the smartphone app as an intermediary.

In a cloud platform, machine learning algorithms analyse the data and return alerts and tips to the user's smartphone when the user is performing "incorrect", potentially harmful movements or subjects themselves to the same stress for too long, for example.

"I wish you could always keep an eye on things..."

As a physiotherapist with more than 20 years of experience, Søren Würtz has provided advice to thousands of people suffering from wear and tear injuries. He has found that variation and good physical working positions have a major impact.

"One day, a patient said she wished I could always keep an eye on things and tell her when she was moving in ways that could cause her more injury and pain. And that was how the idea for PreCure Elbow came about. Because that is exactly what the product does – with the effective assistance of the machine learning algorithms in Microsoft Azure," says Søren Würtz.

Azure ML capable of analysing data from thousands of users

PreCure is working in close partnership with Innofactor on the underlying Azure architecture in the cloud, which gathers, analyzes and identifies patterns in the data flows from the PreCure sleeve.

"The artificial intelligence is constantly sorting the data flows from thousands of users, and over time it will gradually get better at identifying muscle impulses that indicate injury is about to occur. This is giving the algorithms of basis for detection of when users are moving "incorrectly" – and alerting them to change their working position," explains Jesper Sommer. He is the Cloud Journey Lead at Innofactor and is working in close partnership with PreCure to ready this preventive product for the world market.

Jesper Sommer notes that PreCure and Innofactor are working closely together with a number of research partners – including the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen and Bispebjerg Hospital – to secure a data basis and ensure quality and consistency in the analysis work.

"They could potentially help hundreds of thousands of people"

"There is no doubt that PreCure have got hold of the long end of the stick here. They could potentially help hundreds of thousands of people all over the world," says Jesper Sommer.

"Of course, you could ask why nobody else has come up with a product like this before, but the answer to that is very easy: quite simply, it could not be done. It is only over the past couple of years that products like Azure ML have made it so much easier, faster and cheaper for even small start-ups to work in a targeted fashion with machine learning and 'intelligent algorithms' and analyze data from many thousands of users simultaneously. This provides a number of truly fantastic opportunities, and it is very, very exciting to be helping to explore these," says Jesper Sommer.

At PreCure, Søren Würtz also has plenty of good things to say about the partnership.

"Innofactor has provided us with a technology partner that helps us with the overall solution, so all development work is collected together in a single location. Not only do they have special expertize in the field of cloud solutions and artificial intelligence, they are also good sparring partners and are incredibly quick at turning our ideas and thoughts into reality in the technical universe. This is a major advantage for a small company like ours," says Søren Würtz.

"Not only does Innofactor have special expertize in the field of cloud solutions and artificial intelligence, they are also good sparring partners and are incredibly quick at turning our ideas and thoughts into reality in the technical universe."

Søren Würtz

How it was done

The following solutions and technologies, among others, are a part of of the overall solution delivered to PreCure:

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