Fall risks assessment among community dwelling elderly using wearable wireless sensors

Thurmon E. Lockhart, Rahul Soangra, Chris Frames

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Postural stability characteristics are considered to be important in maintaining functional independence free of falls and healthy life style especially for the growing elderly population. This study focuses on developing tools of clinical value in fall prevention: 1) Implementation of sensors that are minimally obtrusive and reliably record movement data. 2) Unobtrusively gather data from wearable sensors from four community centers 3) developed and implemented linear and non-linear signal analysis algorithms to extract clinically relevant information using wearable technology. In all a total of 100 community dwelling elderly individuals (66 non-fallers and 34 fallers) participated in the experiment. All participants were asked to stand-still in eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) condition on forceplate with one wireless inertial sensor affixed at sternum level. Participants' history of falls had been recorded for last 2 years, with emphasis on frequency and characteristics of falls. Any participant with at least one fall in the prior year were classified as faller and the others as non-faller. The results indicated several key factors/features of postural characteristics relevant to balance control and stability during quite stance and, showed good predictive capability of fall risks among older adults. Wearable technology allowed us to gather data where it matters the most to answer fall related questions, i.e. the community setting environments. This study opens new prospects of clinical testing using postural variables with a wearable sensor that may be relevant for assessing fall risks at home and patient environment in near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSignal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXIII
ISBN (Print)9781628410280
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventSignal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXIII - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: May 5 2014May 8 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSignal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • Center of pressure (COP)
  • Complexity
  • Inertial measurement unit (IMU)
  • Non-linear analysis
  • Persistence
  • Postural stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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