Research

Unique ‘fall airbag’ to protect elderly from sustaining injuries after a fall

20. 3. 2017 | When older adults people fall over, it often has serious consequences. AcademiaNet scientist Dr. Heike Vallery from TU Delft has developed algorithms for a ‘fall airbag’, which reduces the risk of fractures and their devastating conseuences.
Fall Airbag
Bild vergrößern
Fall Airbag

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)

More information

Testimonials

  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.

News

  1. Studying the molecular clockwork

    This year's Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology went to three chronobiologists: Michael W. Young, Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall. The award has put a spotlight on an exciting, yet rarely discussed, field of research. We spoke with Professor Martha Merrow from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, who researches circadian clocks in different organisms. She told us about the inner clock of cells, how chronobiology could help us live healthier and the problem some individuals' chronotype.

  2. 24 AcademiaNet members receive ERC Consolidator grants

    This year's call sees more female recipients than last year, and nearly a quarter of them are AcademiaNet members.

  3. "Even the best antiviral treatment is not a cure"

    On 1 December 2017, the 30th World AIDS Day took place to raise awareness of one of the most destructive epidemics in human history. Despite major advances in HIV treatment in the last decades - which have greatly improved the life expectancy of infected individuals - the disease is far from being eradicated. Professor Marie Larsson from Linköping University in Sweden studies how HIV affects the cells of the immune system and renders individuals more vulnerable to infections by other viruses.

  4. We do not fight when we deal with science

    ‘We are scientists but we are still humans and we cannot close our eyes or ears to what’s happening around us.’ - Dr Gihan Kamel

  5. "Science is for everyone"

    Anna-Lena Scholz interviewed AcademiaNet project manager Eva Roth for her column "3 ½ questions" in the "Chancen Brief" of the German newspaper "Die Zeit". We translated the exchange.