Fall Prevention for Seniors in a Smartphone?

Fall prevention for seniors has just gotten high tech. Falls are the number one independence robber of seniors. Find technology that can help you create a fall prevention plan.

Fall Prevention for Seniors in a Smartphone?
SmartGait: Pioneering Fall Prevention Technology for Seniors

The landscape of fall prevention for seniors is evolving with cutting-edge technology. Did you know that in the United States, one in three individuals aged 65 and older experiences a fall each year? Falls stand as the primary threat to seniors' independence, with over 2 million non-fatal falls resulting in emergency room visits, and over 500,000 of these cases leading to hospital admissions.

Thanks to a dedicated team of researchers at Purdue University, a portable smartphone tool is poised to revolutionize fall prevention. These researchers will unveil their groundbreaking findings at the International Society for Posture and Gait Research 2014 World Congress in Canada this July.

Babak Ziaie, a professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, collaborated with the team to create the innovative smartphone tool known as "SmartGait." This portable device is designed to be worn at the waist and serves as a comprehensive measurement tool, assessing gait length (the distance between the tip of one's front and back foot), gait width (the distance between the feet), and walking speed.

Currently, there is no practical method to monitor this information as individuals go about their daily activities. Professor Ziaie's motivation for this project stemmed from a personal tragedy—a fall that his grandfather experienced, ultimately leading to his passing.

SmartGait employs colored "foot markers" worn on the tip of each shoe, allowing the smartphone app to accurately record and measure an individual's gait parameters. The team verified the effectiveness of SmartGait by comparing it to a "gold standard" laboratory system, demonstrating its impressive accuracy in calculating step length (95%) and width length (90%).

The potential applications of this innovative device extend beyond fall prevention. It could prove invaluable for individuals dealing with balance-affecting conditions, such as Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, SmartGait has the potential to become an essential tool for healthcare professionals conducting gait assessments in the field.

In contrast to the current costly equipment used for gait assessments, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars, SmartGait offers a cost-effective solution that can be worn during everyday activities. Fall prevention for seniors through such technology presents numerous benefits, including the preservation of independence and the prevention of debilitating injuries. The future holds exciting possibilities, with a pending patent application through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

Sources. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278397.php

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