The latest statistics show that many elderly people have to be treated in the accident and emergency departments of hospitals after having a fall. Thousands of them even have died as a result of the fall. The amount of deaths caused by falling will only increase in the future due to the ageing population. AcademiaNet scientist Heike Vallery from the Faculty of 3mE at the TU Delft has therefore developed algorithms for a ‘fall airbag’. Colleagues from the BioMechanical Engineering department, the industrial Design Engineering department and the Dutch start-up WOLK BV have been cooperating with her on this. "We hope this technology will eventually reduce the risk of falls for senior citizens, enabling them to actively participate in their communities", so Heike Vallery to AcademiaNet.
Vallery is conducting research into a fall algorithm that predicts instability in older people. This ensures that the air bag is deployed on time. Within a year, the updated fall algorithm will be incorporated into the first series of fall airbags, which will be manufactured by WOLK BV. In the event of instability the ‘fall airbag’ protects elderly people from sustaining an injury.
"We are pleased to be able to contribute to finding a solution for this social problem. And it doesn’t get in the user’s way while they’re wearing it. The air bag is comfortable, easy to use and can be worn under most clothes. The pillows can be unfolded on three sides (left, right and at the rear), which reduces the risk of hip injuries," says Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar of WOLK BV and alumnus of the department of Aerospace Engineering TU Delft.
Hopefully injuries among elderly will be prevented through this research and the use of wearable technology. (© TU Delft, AcademiaNet)