Monitoring Gait Crashers

Technology detection of falls by the elderly

Falling is the leading cause of death by injury in those aged 65 and older. A non-invasive technology is available to accurately detect falls in a home. Its developers’ goal is to distinguish real incidents from false alarms, differentiating a heart attack collapse from a pet jumping off a chair. They use radar technology from police speed-traps and weather forecasting, plus 3-D sensors from games like Xbox. 

Gait and fall patterns of the elderly are the basis for the design of the monitoring devices. Researchers taught young, healthy people to observe elderly people. Then they learned how to walk without picking up their feet and to fall like seniors. Also, in an eldercare residence, researchers used radar and 3-D sensors to measure speed, stride time and stride length. With this information, they calculated the risk of falling for people with slow movement and inconsistent strides.

Researchers also hope that balance or strength training can help prevent serious falls.

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