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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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Video: Floor Sensors Could Save Elderly From Falls
14 February 2014 4:15 pm
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults, causing more than 20,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. Now, a team of researchers is using the same technology found in smartphone touch screens to detect these dangerous tumbles as soon as they happen. To accomplish this, the researchers embedded long sheets of flexible padding with so-called capacitive sensors. The sensors detect when a person walks or lies nearby, even when conventional flooring is installed on top. This information is wirelessly beamed to a computer, which crunches the data looking for evidence of a fall. If the system, called SensFloor, senses something is amiss, it automatically calls for help (as in the video above). The technology has already found use in a French nursing home where it detected 28 falls in 4 months, a member of the team reported here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. According to the nurses at the home, one of the falls involved a patient who fell and was hidden from view behind her bed. The nurses say without the system it would have taken much longer to realize something was wrong. While existing thermal camera systems are much cheaper than the capacitive floor sensors, the team says its system provides a better sense of privacy and works even when furniture is moved around. The researchers say the same technology could be used outside the assisted living community, including home security monitoring and customer tracking in stores.
See more of our coverage from AAAS 2014.