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A wearable system for pre-impact fall detection

A wearable system for pre-impact fall detection

Journal of Biomechanics 41(16): 3475-3481

Unique features of body segment kinematics in falls and activities of daily living (ADL) are applied to make automatic detection of a fall in its descending phase, prior to impact, possible. Fall-related injuries can thus be prevented or reduced by deploying fall impact reduction systems, such as an inflatable airbag for hip protection, before the impact. In this application, the authors propose the following hypothesis: "Thigh segments normally do not exceed a certain threshold angle to the side and forward directions in ADL, whereas this abnormal behavior occurs during a fall activity". Torso and thigh wearable inertial sensors (3D accelerometer and 2D gyroscope) are used and the whole system is based on a body area network (BAN) for the comfort of the wearer during a long term application. The hypothesis was validated in an experiment with 21 young healthy volunteers performing both normal ADL and fall activities. Results show that falls could be detected with an average lead-time of 700 ms before the impact occurs, with no false alarms (100% specificity), a sensitivity of 95.2%. This is the longest lead-time achieved so far in pre-impact fall detection.

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Accession: 051285305

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18996529

DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.08.009

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