University of Utah electrical engineers have developed a network of wireless sensors that can detect a person falling. This monitoring technology could be linked to a service that would call emergency help for the elderly without requiring them to wear monitoring devices.
This is a wireless sensor, similar to those used in home wireless networks, used to detect falls using radio waves. University of Utah researchers used an array of sensors around a room to determine whether someone inside the network was standing or falling. Credit: Dan Hixson, University of Utah
For people age 65 and older, falling is a leading cause of injury and death. Most fall-detection devices monitor a person's posture or require a person to push a button to call for help. However, these devices must be worn at all times. A 2008 study showed 80 percent of elderly adults who owned call buttons didn't use the device when they had a serious fall, largely because they hadn't worn it at the time of the fall.
Now, University of Utah electrical engineers Brad Mager and Neal Patwari have constructed a fall-detection system using a two-level array of radio-frequency sensors placed around the perimeter of a room at two heights that correspond to someone standing or lying down. These sensors are similar to those used in home wireless networks. As each sensor in the array transmits to another, anyone standing -- or falling -- inside the network alters the path of signals sent between each pair of sensors.
Mager is presenting the new fall-detection system Tuesday, Sept. 10 in London at the 24th Annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications.
The team plans to develop this proof-of-concept technology into a commercial product through Patwari's Utah-based startup company, Xandem Technology. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.
"The idea of 'aging-in-place,' in which someone can avoid moving to a nursing home and live in their own home, is growing," says Patwari, senior author of the study and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah. "Ideally, the environment itself would be able to detect a fall and send an alert to a caregiver. What's remarkable about our system is that a person doesn't need to remember to wear a device."
By measuring the signal strength between each link in the network -- similar to the number of "bars" on your cell phone -- an image is generated to show the approximate location of a person in the room with a resolution of about six inches. This imaging technique, called radio tomography, uses the one-dimensional link measurements from the sensor network to build up a three-dimensional image.
"With this detection system, a person's location in a room or building can be pinpointed with high accuracy, eliminating the need to wear a device," says Mager, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and first author of this study. "This technology can also indicate whether a person is standing up or lying down."
What's more, the system is programmed to detect whether a fall was indeed a dangerous one, rather than someone simply lying down on the floor. By conducting a series of experiments measuring the amount of time that elapsed when a person fell, sat down, or laid down on the ground, the researchers determined a time threshold for accurately detecting a fall. This information was fed back into algorithms used to determine whether a given event was a fall or one of the other benign activities.
University of Utah College of Engineering72 S. Central Campus Dr.
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences