News - 2016083101 - Sensor tech predicts when senior citizens are at risk of falling

AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin

Falls are dangerous for anyone, but they can be particularly worrying for senior citizens whose bodies aren't as resilient as they used to be. University of Missouri scientists may have a way to prevent those slips. They've developed a sensor system that measure changes in your gait speed and stride length to predict likely falls up to 3 weeks before they happen. If you slow down or shorten your stride in a significant way, it can alert health care workers (complete with imagery) so that they can take action before there's an injury.

Unlike many motion sensors, you don't need to wear anything on your body. You could string devices around the home, and wouldn't have to change your behavior or remember to charge a device. And that's particularly important given the team's goals. The invention could not only save lives, but extend the independence of seniors by another few years -- they could walk with greater confidence.