ActiveProtective Technologies of Lehigh Valley, Pa, with support from product development firm Device Development (BDD), Boston, Mass., has developed a novel wearable product that the company says can prevent hard-to-heal hip fractures in elderly patients.
The medical startup says the wearable airbag technology prevents hip fractures because the garment continuously monitors movement and deploys an airbag around at-risk areas of the femur during sudden falls. According to CEO Drew Lakatos, “This technology has the potential to prevent the previously unpreventable.”
Statistics indicate that one out of three people over the age of 65 will fall each year. Many of them will not recover, and some may not survive. The company first set out on a mission to determine fall-risk factors, in order to identify those patients at a 15 percent or greater statistical probability of breaking their hip.
“We then developed a methodology using 3D motion sensors to determine the stereotypical motions and accelerations that govern our normal, daily activities, in order to determine ‘departures’ from what is allowable,” the company reports. This technique, called “fall disambiguation”, allows the company to determine falls, prior to impact, with accuracy, and to intervene by deploying micro-airbag protection.
The company claims they have the ability to reduce impact force by 90 percent with the garments, which would eliminate a majority of hip fractures and instead make hip fractures a preventable condition.