ROOP-Alert fall predictor study: Virginia Tech

Categories: Latest News.

Fall prediction is one of the ‘holy grails’ in aging in place and this new device developed by a team drawn from Virginia Tech’s Locomotion Research Lab (lead) and the University of Virginia is worth noting. The ROOP-Alert (Remote Observation Operating Platform) bridges gait and posture analysis, body sensor networks, low-power radio frequency wireless communication, and gerontology. The sensor in test is about the size of an iPod Mini, and designed to be worn on minimally invasive locations–the article mentions clothing and possibly an ankle. Data from the monitors is centrally monitored. The test will be staged at Commonwealth Care, a nursing home in Radford, Virginia. Virginia Tech researchers build new sensor that could stop falls by elderly, before they happen (Virginia Tech News)


  1. Kevin Doughty

    It is now well-established that the chances of falling over perhaps a 12 month period can be predicted pretty well using available data on the history of falling and a good knowledge of both extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors including gait and the sort of measurements that these researchers plan to record. The challenge is to identify changes in the “immediate risk of falling” in the hope that something can be done about prevention the fall. It could be a failure to take medication, being distracted by a sound, a failure to wear spectacles, consuming a large alcoholic drink, or forgetting to switch on a light or use a walking stick – all of which produce a short-term and reversible, but very significant, change in falls risk. I suggest that developers may have more success in falls prevention by using sensors that monitor transfers and other activities and actions on a continuous basis; these could trigger alerts and reminders immediately. Existing assistive technology systems could be used to coordinate these actions, but it remains to be seen if people at risk of falling will be compliant with the advice issued. Perhaps the threat of being institutionalised if they don’t accept the warnings will provide the necessary incentive for people to exercise supported self-care (i.e. telecare). :roll: