A Low-Cost Fall Monitor for Geriatric Subjects

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44AG018667-02
Agency Tracking Number: AG018667
Amount: $0.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (434) 973-1215
Business Contact
Phone: (434) 973-1215
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Falls are a leading cause of disability and even death in the elderly. A method is needed by which to identify elderly persons who frequently experience falls or near falls (e.g., slips, stumbles, etc.). There are presently no tools to objectively record such events and their characteristics (e.g., kinematics) in independent-living, assisted-living, or nursing-home environments. A device that could be used to discreetly count fall frequency and record the characteristics of fall events - while still permitting free and unrestricted body movement - would be invaluable in understanding why elderly people fall. Such a device could also serve as a research tool, enabling a better understanding of risk factors associated with falls and near falls. A method for characterizing fall dynamics (e.g., impact velocity and orientation, fall direction, impact energy) would assist in identifying elderly persons at high risk for hip fracture. Hip fractures, for example, have been associated with high impact energy sideways falls in which the subject lands on their hip. Under the proposed Phase II SBIR effort, Barron Associates, Inc. and its subcontractors, the University of Kansas Center for Research and the University of Virginia Division of General Medicine, Geriatrics & Palliative Care, propose to develop and demonstrate the Wear And Forget Ambulatory Recorder for Elderly Residents (WAFARER), a wireless system to detect, archive, characterize, and "reconstruct," through PC-based graphical reenactment, fall and near-fall events in the elderly with the goals of understanding and preventing fall-related injuries and their sequelae. Three-dimensional animation of pelvic motions during fall and near-fall events will facilitate their interpretation by senior-care facility physicians, nurses, and others.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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