Falls among the elderly are a huge health, social and economic problem. An integrated system that can assess fall risk on an ongoing basis would make an important contribution to tackling this problem, if it is easy to use, robust and reliable. We propose an open platform network architecture that delivers an unobtrusive, self-learning and wearable prevention and warning system to decrease the incidence of falls in the elderly population.
The WIISEL project proposes a new system for obtaining insole pressure information in an ambulatory and continuous way, potentially changing the future of ambulatory movement monitoring.
The system is based on an insole that monitors the posture of an individual and evaluates gait dynamics via a matrix of printed pressure sensors. Innovations of the proposed system include the wearability of the system through the implementation of an ultra thin and flexible pressure sensor matrix, as well as the use of thin control electronics and battery. As an insole, it will be independent of the shoe, and therefore it will be possible to be introduced in the different users shoes.
The novel WIISEL architecture will communicate at two levels, first with a near element (e.g., smartphone), that can interact with the person. The second communication will be with a remote control management system. This remote control system incorporates an intelligent prediction system that aims to discover patterns and make predictions based on historical and real-time daily behavioural data. In other words, the system is self-learning and user-friendly.
This self-learning system will facilitate the prevention of falls by a gait and activity pattern recognition. This recognition will interact with the clinicians and the user enabling prevention interventions like rehabilitation exercises monitoring or recognition of the fear of falling by reduction of activity, and thus permitting a corrective intervention.
We anticipate that this new technology will enable preventing falls in elderly population in general, which is expected to grow by 70% in 2050. It will drive a paradigm shift and empower new clinical and research opportunities, ultimately leading to a reduction in the burden of falls, improved health-related quality, and economic benefits for EUs healthcare system that is faced with caring for a growing elderly population.