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Scientists invent wearable devices to prevent elderly people from falling

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:25

As age increases, the likelihood of severe falls in elderly people due to deteriorating balance also increases accordingly. Scientists at Yokohama National University in Japan have observed that if the fingers of a person with insufficient body balance come into contact with a light descending surface, such as a hanging curtain or piece of paper, this tactile warning is sufficient to stop and correct swaying. Even if the surface is not sturdy enough to provide physical support to people like a cane or wall, it doesn't matter.

This effect is called "light touch", and researchers have begun incorporating it into a wearable system. In earlier experiments, scientists used 3D motion capture cameras to detect the swaying of test objects, and then turned to devices that use body mounted accelerometers to complete the same task.

When the device detects that the wearer is starting to shake, it activates the vibrating tactile device located at the tip of the person's dominant index finger. The device buzzes painlessly, with the intensity and direction of the vibration corresponding to the severity and direction of the shaking.

When the experimental "virtual light touch" (VLT) system was tested on 150 volunteers aged from 60 to 90 years old, it was found to significantly reduce positional shaking. Scientists are now working hard to make the system lighter, smaller, and improve its effectiveness.