Fall prevention for seniors has just gotten high tech.
Did you know that in the US, one in three individuals 65 years of age and older fall every year?
Falls are the number one independence robber of seniors.
There are over 2 million non-fatal falls that result in a visit to the emergency room. Over 500,00 of these visits to the emergency room result in an admission to the hospital.
Thanks to a team of researchers at Purdue… a portable smartphone tool could prevent falls for occurring. The team of researchers will present their findings… at the International Society for Posture and Gait Research 2014 World Congress.. in Canada in July.
Babak Ziaie, a professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering worked with the team… that created the smartphone tool called Smart Gait.
This is a portable tool that is worn on an individual’s waist. It is able to measure their gait length. This is the distance between the tip of front foot of the person to the tip of their back foot.
It also measures gait width (this is the distance between the feet). This tool also measures the walking speed.
At the present time, there is no way to measure this information… as a person goes through their normal activities of daily living. Professor Ziaie became interested in this project … as a result of a fall his grandfather experienced. His grandfather passed away as the result of that fall.
This smartphone app measures and records the measurements by using colored “foot markers”. These are worn on the tip of each shoe.
The team, measured the effectiveness of SmartGait… by utilizing a “gold standard” laboratory system.
SmartGait has proven to calculate the step length with 95% accuracy. and the width length with an accuracy of 90%.
The uses for this new device may go far beyond fall prevention. It could help those that have conditions that affect their balance. Such as Parkinson’s.
This new tool may be the future tool utilized by health care professionals.. to conduct gait assessments in the field.
At the present time, the present tool utilized for gait assessment … cost tens of thousands of dollars. SmartGait can be worn while a person is doing everyday activities in a cost effective manner. Fall prevention for seniors has many benefits.
Maintaining independence and preventing injury may be just a step away.
Here is a patent application pending through the Purdue Office of technology Commercialization.