A wearable miniaturized fall detection system for .. (FallWatch)
A wearable miniaturized fall detection system for the elderly
Start date: Feb 1, 2009,
End date: Jul 31, 2011
Falls among the elderly occur frequently. Approximately 30% of people over 65 fall accidentally each year, and for those over 80 this rate raises up to 50%. Falls are an important factor in the health limitations of the elderly due to a high morbidity caused by physical and psychological consequences, loss of independence and even death. Late or non existing responses cause 2 million persons having to be hospitalized and approximately 85000 deaths can be attributed each year to this fact. There are a number of alarm devices trying to satisfy the need of an early intervention in case of fall, but existing fall detectors do not have a remarkable social impact neither a significant market penetration: just 4.5% of Europe's potential end users have any of the existing social alarms. Two facts hinder their effectiveness of the existing fall detectors, capping therefore the market demand: bad ergonomics and lack of reliability. FallWatch project proposes a new generation fall detector device included in a whole fall detection system and is thought as an effective way of minimizing the consequences of falls in the elderly. FallWatch will automatically detect a fall and immediately contact the health services to allow an early intervention. FallWatch will produce, on the one hand, a miniaturized fall detector device of a scale reduction by 50% of existing devices, and on the other hand, biocompatible materials for the device’s package and for an adhesive patch to comfortably stick the device to the user’s skin. FallWatch system will solve the reliability problem by using both wearable device and environmental infra red sensors at the user’s home and developing a specific data fusion algorithm that will cross check the variables to avoid false alarms. In order to achieve the ergonomics and reliability goals, FallWatch project will work in different technological areas which are widely explained along this proposal.
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