Do Automatic Fall Detection Devices Work?

Best Fall Detection Medical Alert What Is An Automatic Fall Detection Device? 

Medical alert industry professionals are being bombarded with news about “automatic fall detection technology” from many sources and as a caregiver, you may be seeing this information as well. What this technology claims to do is to be a fail safe for individuals who, even though they may be wearing medical alert pendants, might be unable to push the button.

Automatic fall detection technology claims it will call for help if it detects the senior has fallen and can’t push a button because he or she is incapacitated. This may sound ideal, but in the past the technology has been shown to be less than reliable and also has limited functionality.

How They Work.

Automatic fall detection works by analyzing the changes in the position of the wearer’s body, this is done through the use of gyroscopes and accelerometers that track and analyze any changes in the wearer’s position.

For example, if the person is walking, the accelerometer measures that, if she suffers a fall, the accelerometer will capture the increase in speed and the gyroscope will capture the change in the body’s position, ie from upright to prone. It’s been noted that in order for the technology to be accurate and reliable, the wearer should wear more than one of the sensors because “the more sensors worn, the more accurate the system is.”

What are the limitations?

It is difficult to monitor the movements of humans, bottom line. This technology has been used in electronic equipment for decades – for example if you have a space heater or fan that gets knocked over it is automatic fall detection that shuts it off. Because of the way humans move, it is necessary that any fall detection technology be able to detect the difference between every day activities and that of a true fall occurrence.

  • False Alarms. One of the biggest limitations of fall detection alerts including the recently released Phillips system was the common occurrence of “false alarm” calls.  With an automatic fall detection system, the false alarm could be triggered by an everyday activity such as quickly dropping into a seated position in a chair or even by bending down.
  • Cost Limitations. For a device to work properly an expensive micro processor is needed inside the pendant.  In the past cost restrictions relating to the number and quality of the sensors and the fall detection computing capabilities inside the pendant have greatly restricted the quality and accuracy of these devices.   In the end many customers became frustrated with the performance of the fall detection device and returned them.

The Libris Solution to Automatic Fall Detection.

Fall detection alert | medical alertSo it’s new technology to the rescue!  Just released in late 2013 is the industries first “mobile fall detection” pendant the “Libris AutoAlert.”  It’s the marriage of cellular data delivery and powerful cloud computing.

What makes this new technology uniquely different is that by using its cellular platform, the automatic fall detection pendant is constantly sending its fall detection sensor data to a cloud computing center that records and analysis the movements of the pendant. As a result the expensive micro processing of the fall detection pendant can be eliminated and built into the much more capable and effective cloud computing center. All the Libris needs to do is send the data not try to determine what the data is saying. 

What this all means is that a large amount of data can be quickly analysed by the cloud computing center and presented to the monitoring operator.  In real time the operator can actually see the position and movement or lack thereof of the pendant.  Its crazy smart. You can actually drop the pendant on the floor and it can tell that it’s not a person falling. The issue of false positives, although not completely eliminated, are rare. All this is done without diminishing its ability to automatically activate an alarm in the event  of a non-responsive fall.

medical alert monitoring

When you look at the medical alert industry and realize that close to 90% of the alert pendants in service are technologically equivalent to a garage door opener you can more fully appreciate the user benefits of the new Libris.   When it comes to automatic fall detection the Libris AutoAlert is a welcome breath of fresh air. 

There’s even more! 

The small Libris pendant is also going through the final stages of its FDA approval as data gateway for numerous home medical monitoring equipment devices like glucose, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.  In the near future the Libris will not only provide effective automatic fall detection but will be an integral part of a broad range of home health monitoring services