Gaming technology can be used to detect resident falls, researchers say

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The same technology used in video games and security systems is being repurposed to detect illness or falls among long-term care residents, according to researchers.

Scientists at the University of Missouri are developing a device — usually used in creating video games — that uses infrared light to produces a silhouette of the person being monitored, rather than a video or photograph. They are also designing a second device that uses Doppler-radar technology to recognizes whether a resident is walking, bending and executing other movements. These changes of position could indicate whether a resident has fallen.

"Falls are especially dangerous for older adults and if they don't get help immediately, the chances of serious injury or death are increased," said Liang Liu, a doctoral student working on the project. "If emergency personnel are informed about a fall right away, it can significantly improve the outcome for the injured patient."

The system is currently monitoring residents of an independent living facility in Columbia, MO. The study was presented at the Pervasive Health Conference in Ireland in May. To read more about the technology, click here or here.

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