Australia-Europe collaboration develops senior mobility monitoring device

ROYAL Philips Electronics is collaborating with Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) to develop technologies which predict and prevent falls in older adults.

The iStoppFalls project is an European venture aiming to prevent falls in the home, especially for senior citizens.

The companies will develop and test a senior mobility monitoring device that will unobtrusively assess the balance and mobility of participants.

Philips has its own fall detection technology with the Lifeline and AutoAlert pendant-type help button, but says the new project aims to reduce falls, in addition to detecting falls.

Harry van Dyk, Country Manager for Philips Electronics Australia hopes this collaboration will ignite the use of technology to support independent living in Australia.

“Philips is invested in developing products and solutions that will enable active independent living in the home.  In Australia, we are focused on both testing and developing fall detection and prevention solutions, as well as introducing other assistive technologies such as medication dispensing devices.”

Among seniors, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, as well as injury-related deaths.

Close to 50 percent of seniors can’t get up from a fall without help and lying on the floor for an extended period of time can lead to serious complications, including: pressure ulcers, muscle necrosis, dehydration, hypothermia and pneumonia.

According to the companies, modern ICT technologies like sensors, telemedicine and home entertainment can help older people be more independent within their own homes.

The iStoppFalls project will also develop an exercise-based videogame to deliver fall prevention training into the homes of older adults. These videogames could also increase overall levels of physical activity in older adults.

The research project will be funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and the Australian Government.