Smart Flooring Technologies
Preventing the Falling of Elderly People Worldwide
The costs related to falling accidents of elderly people (75+ years) are rising each year in Europe. In 2018 in the Netherlands, the costs amounted to approximately € 900 million. Not only are the costs a problem, but even more so the injuries and the emotional stress for the elderly, their families and healthcare workers, as a result of these falling accidents.
Falling accidents can be prevented when health care workers know if the elderly are at risk of falling. When this is known, the elderly must use a rollator or, for example, airbag trousers while walking, in order to prevent falling and injuring themselves. Alternatively, they can get special physiotherapy treatment to improve their walking capabilities. In the
‘SmalTec’ experiment, an innovative sustainable technology (integrated in floors) is developed and tested to objectively measure (with aid of a wearable) the falling risk of the elderly while they are walking, which informs healthcare workers and their family when the elderly are at risk, so that the described interventions can be undertaken.
DIATOMIC coaches helped us structure our project with 2 weekly Skype sessions, via email, as well as at the bootcamps that we attended. They also supported us by giving us advice with dicult issues and provided answers to any questions that we had. Our DIATOMIC coaches also challenged us to reach the optimal result within our experiments, and their (technical) network was available for any questions or issues that we were facing.
The miniature wearable which we named ‘Heelable’ is designed and produced with three separate ‘modules’, including electronics with motion sensors and microprocessor with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, power and an RF-reader antenna. Data from the wearable can be transported through a stable Wi-Fi gateway to the cloud, analysed in cloud and send to the web application as information. The wearable can read RF-tags within an average of 150 ms per step.
The Smart Floor technology has been integrated into the floors of the nursing home tante- Louise and the physiotherapy centre Steenbergen in the Netherlands, while it has also been integrated into the sports floorings of the PSV Performance Center Eindhoven and the Maaspoort arena in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. Data of moving patients and sportsman can be measured and analysed, and the first Smart Floor App for fall prevention has been developed with relevant information for healthcare takers and specialists.
By the end of the DIATOMIC project, we shall have collaboration with 4 flooring companies to market and sell the Smart Floor, and we will have reached nearly 25,000 subscriptions.