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Fall prevention technological framework to enable active ageing and rehabilitation in elderly communities.

Country of Origin: Portugal
Reference Number: TOPT20180911001
Publication Date: 13 December 2018


A Portuguese research and technology organization has developed multiple technological solutions that can be combined to cover different and individually tailored scenarios targeting fall prevention. The components consist of a hardware for sensor communication, movement evaluation, gamified fall prevention exercises, prescriptions and user profile management. Industrial partners are sought for commercial exploitation and/or licensing. R&D cooperation to improve the system.


This fall prevention solution was developed by a research and technology organisation (RTO) from Portugal, which focuses on developing technologies of practical utility to private and public enterprises and of wide benefit to society.

From its foundation in 2009 with 12 employees, it has now two offices in Portugal employing around 80 researchers.

With a client portfolio from a broad range of areas, such as health, agriculture, retail and energy, the RTO has consolidated competences in:
- Human-Centred Design
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cyber-Physical Systems
This prevention solution was developed to enable the detection of life-threatening events such as falls, specially in the case of elderly and vulnerable people.
The system allows for continuously monitoring of movements and activities of elderly and vulnerable people, supports quantification of ambulation activities, infers their physical activity status and predicts the risk of falling, or other functional declines.
It is based on a framework that integrates four specific components:
A - Hardware abstraction layer for sensor communication: comprises an interface for retrieving sensor data from a large array of supported and commercially available sensors (for example, inertial sensors from smartphones and smartwatches, depth sensors), provided through a unified protocol (Kinteract). The data received from the sensors is merged into a single multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Android) protocol and sent to any client (for example, a game) asking for sensor data. This architecture allows modules to be agnostic on which sensors are currently supported and being used. The framework itself is a client for sensor data, as it implements a sensor fusion algorithm that allows estimating the orientation of a connected smartphone (or equivalent device with an IMU) that may be used for different purposes.

B - Movement evaluation algorithms: can use different data sources to evaluate the movement of the user. Data from inertial sensors, gestures, body tracking or hand tracking may be used to evaluate different types of movements and extract multiple exercise properties. A focus has been given to the analysis of inertial sensor data to evaluate arms and legs movements while doing a specific exercise. Exercises from the OTAGO fall prevention program (e.g. sit to stand, tandem walk, one leg standing, etc.), multiple dances and Tai Chi routines constitute examples of supported movements.

C - Gamified fall prevention programs/exercises: may ideally be used in conjunction with B, as exergames rely heavily on the ability to understand users’ movement to control game progression. This component also includes a set of gamified exercises for fall prevention that fully replicate the scientifically based OTAGO exercise program. Dance and Tai Chi based interventions are also presented as a game, which constitute a strong contribution to users’ engagement and commitment, required to guarantee the efficacy of the interventions. Interactive games may also support a multi-player mode.

D - Interventions prescription and user profile management: allows the use of a backend server for storing users’ profiles, movement performance and game results. Additionally, it enables a caregiver or clinician to follow users’ evolution and adapt the intervention plans to the specificities and needs of the user. Personalized exercise plans may also be recommended automatically by the system, which will continuously adapt the intervention plan to the evolution of the user.

The RTO is looking for industry partners that are willing to commercially exploit the technology (e.g. through integration in their product portfolio).

They are open to discuss a commercial agreement with technical assistance, a license agreement or a research cooperation agreement for further improvements or new developments of the present system.

Advantages and Innovations

Innovative Features
- Applies scientifically proven strategies for fall prevention
- Enables quantitative evaluation of users’ progression
- Multi-player games
- Challenging and competitive games
- Attractive and easy-to-use interfaces
- Flexible use of input sensors (commercially available)

Advantages / Benefits
- Allows the user to perform the exercises with feedback, without need for constant specialist support
- Exercises with demonstrable impact through scientific evidence
- Highly motivational gamified exercises
- Transportable system
- Simple and easy to use
- Adaptable to different use cases (e.g. at home or in a clinic)
- Low operation costs

Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 6
Technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)

Requested partner

Industry partner interested in commercially exploiting this technology (e.g. through integration in its product portfolio), through a commercial agreement with technical assistance or license agreement.

They also consider research cooperation agreements for further developments of the present system.

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