Button-sized computing device promising for elderly fall prevention

A University of Texas at Dallas professor has developed a wearable wireless computing device the size of a button designed to improve health monitoring for the elderly.

Roozbeh Jafari, assistant professor of electrical engineering and director of the university's Embedded Systems and Signal Processing Lab, received a 2012 National Science Foundation award and five-year $416,000 grant for his work. The key to designing the device was reducing the size of the batteries required to process the data while ensuring the efficient use of power to determine whether a person wearing it is in a sitting position and whether they are at risk of falling.

According to a university article, case studies suggest that the technology holds significant promise for fall prevention among the elderly and medication adjustments for Parkinson's patients. In Jafari's wearable system, biosensors process and communicate the information and the amount of energy used by each biosensor can be targeted toward the sensitivity needed for the specific use.

"Growing demand for healthcare monitoring applications requires students, engineers and healthcare professionals to design, develop, deploy and operate wearable systems," Jafari said in a written statement.

In October, AT&T announced that it will provide mobile internet capabilities for Embedded Wireless' Zilant Wellness Remote Monitoring Platform and mobile personal emergency response (mPERS) pendant, a device worn around the neck that allows caregivers to monitor patients remotely. The mPERS pendant can detect falls, providing two-way voice communication for emergency response and simultaneously transmitting relevant data such as location and relevant personal information.

To learn more:
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