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Fall detector for older people

Pressure measurements enable a newly developed fall detector to “observe” falls that current sensors do not register, thus improving safety for older people who live at home.

Technology and health: Many elderly people would like to live at home as long as possible, but to do so, they need to feel safe. A new fall detector that SINTEF researchers are helping Tellu AS to develop will improve their level of personal safety. It is capable of detecting all types of fall, even sinking falls, which currently available products do not register.

This type of fall is particularly difficult to detect because the g-forces involved are small, since the falling movement takes place almost in slow motion. A sinking fall doesn’t involve significant g-forces; “in a sinking fall, the victim may simply slide down a wall or off the edge of a bed, and end up sitting on the floor,” says SINTEF scientist Anders Liverud.

Registers all stypes of fall

The newly developed fall detector registers falls by comparing pressure changes between a sensor attached to the user’s upper body and others installed at various points around the house.

When the pressure in the sensor attached to the body rises, it notes that the user is falling,” explains Liverud, who points out that the sensor will detect the fall no matter how rapidly or slowly it takes place.

Image of the fall detector
The newly developed fall detector registers falls by comparing pressure changes between a sensor attached to the user’s upper body and others installed at various points around the house
Photo: SINTEF