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We all fall down

Stunt actors help TigerPlace develop a sensor system to detect falls

With one in three people age 65 or older falling each year, falls are the most common cause of trauma-related injuries and hospitalizations in that group, and the leading cause of injury-related deaths. Elders at risk for falls can wear devices that call for help at the push of a button. Problem is, many people don’t want to wear them or may not have the physical or mental capability to use them when the time comes.

To address the challenge, faculty members at MU are developing sensors and software that not only detect falls and send help but also notice changes in elders’ movement that could signal problems possibly leading to a fall. Researchers Marilyn Rantz, professor of nursing, and Marge Skubic, professor of engineering, are testing the system in apartments at TigerPlace, an aging-in-place facility at 2910 Bluff Creek Drive in Columbia. To develop the system, they hired and trained stunt actors who performed falls over and over. To see the stunt actors at work, watch the video below.

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