Solution: Non-voice activated monitoring device

By: jrj. Updated: July 04, 2019.

The Problem: Falling in the shower

The (80 yr old) mother of a friend of mine lived alone, fell in the shower, broke her hip, and lay there for 5 hours before someone found her. It was a disaster for her health.

There are really two big problems here, and one of them at least is amenable to a technical solution..... More about the Problem


 

Solution: Non-voice activated monitoring device

Here is another brain-storming idea. What if you instead of trying to have a voice activated device instead have a device that could detect the case when a person has fallen and then send out an alert.

Let's say the device was worn on the wrist. The goal of the device would be to detect a movement similar to that of a person falling and could detect the state where they may be stuck in a prone position. If the device was equiped with an accelerometer it could sense a falling motion. If the device would also detect that it was on the ground based on distance traveled that would be an indicator that a person has fallen. It seems like the same principles used in say the WII Game remote to measure movements could be applied here.

The problem with this approach is to also avoid the false positive. If the rules were:

1. An acceleration matching a fall would have had to of occured (different than normal arm movements)

2. The device would have to not be in the standard upright position (ie at ground level)

3. The device would have to stay at or around this ground position (indicator the person could not get up)

It seems as if all of these rules were put together it would eliminate almost all false positives.

On detecting the fall the device would send a bluethooth like signal to a remote station within reach of the device. This remote station would be able to send text or phone messages to people to get assistance. Remote stations could be placed a key places in the house to capture all places where one could fall. If still concerned about some false positives the alert could be sent just to relatives who could make the return call to verify everyhting is okay before seeking medical assistance.

By not requiring voice activation it would also solve the problem where someone was unconscious and could not call out for help.

The wrist device could be packaged like the packaging done for the Nike Fuel band (not too obtrusive). This device would also not require any configuration so setup is easy. It would be ready to go right out of the box. No personalization required. The remote stations would be the only item needing setup. This could be done by a care giver, potentially only needing to enter in phone number to text and/or call. The wrist band could be packaged as water proof watch for people who do not like to wear wrist bands where the band provides the utility and disguise of being a watch in addition to being this monitoring device.


 

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Target customers & users: 
Aging individuals, Family of the aging
How important is it?: 
Big problem
Key words: 
falls