Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wireless network detects falls by the elderly

09.09.2013
Utah engineers: Invention eliminates need to wear alert system

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 Engineering

72 S. Central Campus Dr.
Room 1650 WEB
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-581-6911 fax: 801-581-8692

Aditi Risbud | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu
http://www.coe.utah.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions
12.12.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs
11.12.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researcher deciphers flows that help bacteria feed and organize biofilms

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>