This smart sock can sound the alarm before a fall

Zahra Rahemtulla of Nottingham Trent University shows off her prototype oversock. — AFP Relaxnews

A researcher at Nottingham Trent University in England has developed a prototype smart sock that can detect an increased risk of falling. Intended for older people, this device is designed to alert doctors or carers to this risk before a patient gets hurt.

This smart sock was created by experts in electronic textiles (e-textiles) from Nottingham Trent University. It is, in fact, a prototype for an oversock capable of detecting the risk of falling with an accuracy of over 94%, according to its designers.

The device is intended to evaluate older adults’ risk of falling by studying the data recorded, day after day. To do this, the oversock is equipped with a motion sensor placed at the ankle. Connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone, it communicates in real time the slightest anomalies in the wearer’s movement.

This prototype could thus be able to detect trips, stumbles and other near-falls that might prefigure a more serious fall. Note that the oversock is washable, just like any ordinary sock.

Based on the data received, an algorithm identifies any unusual movement. In fact, by studying this data, it will be possible for health professionals to see if a person has recently lost their balance once or several times so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent a fall. Indeed, falls can seriously hinder older people’s ability to live independently, after a hip fracture, for example. If a fall is detected, an alert will be immediately sent to carers or emergency responders. – AFP Relaxnews

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