Friday, May 11, 2012

#MEMS: "Sensor Aims to Prevent Elderly from Falling"

Anyone with an elderly relative knows the heartbreaking stories of falls and the resultant broken hips and other serious injuries. The worst, of course, are those who fall and cannot get back up to notify a caregiver. Now Texas Tech is teaming with Texas Instruments to end this suffering with MEMS sensors that detect falls, and automatically notify caregivers, but even more amazing, may be able to prevent falls by issuing alarms with instructions to “stop, grab hold of something nearby, or sit down immediately” to prevent falls before they happen. Using motion sensing analytics, with TI micro controllers and wireless radios, these MEMS sensors may once and for all solve this vexing problem for our aging population: R. Colin Johnson

Prototype of wireless sensor module for detecting falls in geriatric patients is small enough to clip on a belt. Photo courtesy of Texas Tech

Here is what EETimes says about preventing the elderly from falling: The infamous 1980s television commercial that featured the tag line "I've fallen and I can't get up" became the butt of a thousand jokes. But for the elderly, susceptibility to falls and resulting injuries is no laughing matter. Now, a development effort at Texas Tech University, sponsored by Texas Instruments Inc., is taking aim at preventing falls by analyzing posture and gait to send warning alerts to the elderly before they fall. The project has already enlisted volunteers at Texas Tech's Health Science Center to perfect the wireless wearable sensor and is on track next for clinical trials at the first U.S. on-campus geriatric teaching facility, Texas Tech's Geriatric Education and Care Center...
Further Reading