New Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) Program Highlights Emerging De Facto Standards in Open-source Algorithms
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OWEAR

September 27, 2021

OWEAR searchable catalogs will provide a snapshot of, and links to, the published wearables research using open-source algorithms in multiple therapeutic areas

The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR), which promotes and facilitates the use of open-source algorithms for digital medicine, today announced a new program designed to identify and support open-source algorithms that are being adopted rapidly and may become de facto industry standards.

This OWEAR program uses the number and quality of references to “crowdsource” the identification of potential de facto standards. Once a potential standard is identified, OWEAR will create and maintain a searchable catalog that displays key information about the studies in which the algorithm has been employed, including the therapeutic area, population(s) studied, and number of participants.

OWEAR plans to create a new catalog for each open-source algorithm used in a wearable sensor or other connected health technology that generates more than 25 published papers and meets other quality metrics. The reference-count criterion indicates that the algorithm has garnered significant industry adoption. Shimmer Research, Inc. has agreed to donate the staff time to create and maintain these OWEAR catalogs.

GGIR, a popular package for transforming wrist-worn acceleration data into activity and sleep metrics, is the first open-source package recognized under this program. The OWEAR catalog displaying all the published papers for GGIR is now available at www.owear.org. It features more than 300 references, including 114 that were published in the past year alone.

“OWEAR is always looking for new ways to facilitate the use of open-source algorithms. Identifying and evaluating whether an open-source package is appropriate for a specific application can be extremely time consuming. This program streamlines that process by identifying packages that have been used extensively and allows the user to display relevant references in seconds,” said Geoffrey Gill, OWEAR co-founder and president of Shimmer Americas.

“Establishing industry standards is critical in gaining widespread acceptance of digital medicine technologies. Regulatory agencies and healthcare professionals cannot be expected to evaluate myriad algorithms that measure essentially the same phenomenon. Meeting OWEAR’s reference-count criterion indicates that the authors trusted the algorithm enough to use it and that the software is in good enough shape to be used by others,” added Mr. Gill.

Industry members who would like to propose an algorithm for inclusion in an OWEAR catalog should contact the organization at www.OWEAR.org.

Mr. Gill will discuss the value of open-source algorithms during his DPHARM presentation entitled “Collaborating on Digital Endpoints with Open-Source Algorithms” at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Further information about the conference is available at https://theconferenceforum.org/conferences/disruptive-innovations-us/2021-agenda.

About the Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR)

OWEAR is an industry collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing of algorithms and datasets. OWEAR serves as a community hub, indexing, distributing, and benchmarking algorithms openly and transparently. It acts as a neutral broker, conducting formal, objective benchmarking processes and identifying high-performing algorithms in selected domains. Its vision is to provide the industry with a searchable database of benchmarked algorithms and source code that can be freely used by everyone to help streamline drug development and enable digital medicine. For more information, visit www.OWEAR.org.

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