Fall Competence Center
The Fall Competence Center (FCC), at Fraunhofer AICOS, aims to investigate in depth all fall related aspects, including activity monitoring and human motion analysis. The knowledge gathered in the FCC will be applied to viable solutions not only for fall detection, but also fall risk prediction and fall prevention. These technological developments are based on smartphones, since these devices are of easy access and continuously used on the daily life. The new solutions have a great potential of being transferred to the industry and converted in valuable products.
There are some specific groups presenting higher risks of fall and damage, the FCC target groups are:
• elderly persons
• patients with specific illnesses
• extreme sports athletes
• security field operatives
Frequently these high risk individuals act/live alone and, after a fall, they are not able to ask for help and receive fast and efficient assistance, increasing the risk of serious injury. These groups clearly benefit from strategies to automatically send an alert and call for help when a fall occurs. Additionally to these reactive strategies, falls can be prevented by modifying some specific risk factors. Preliminary research results suggest that wearable inertial sensors can be a major strategy both to predict and detect falls and these topics are gaining attention from the research community. However, these strategies are not yet widely implemented, which makes falls an under-addressed health issue.
The new fall management solutions resulting from the FCC will allow to improve the efficiency of the assistance provided upon a fall and consequently minimize injuries, psychological damage, limitations on mobility and reduced quality of life. Therefore, these solutions are expected to have an important impact not only for individuals at higher risk of falling, but also in terms of improving the sustainability of health care systems.
Fraunhofer Portugal aims at the creation of scientific knowledge capable of generating added value to its clients and partners, exploring technology innovations oriented towards economic growth, the social well-being and the improvement of the quality of life of its end-users.
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