Smart Residential Carpet for Promoting Aging in Place

Period of Performance: 09/01/2016 - 08/31/2017

$225K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

BioSensics LLC
WATERTOWN, MA 02472
Principal Investigator

Abstract

? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Aging in place, or the ability of older adults to continue to live safely and economically in their own residences for as long as possible, is one of the key issues of modern societies. Continued population growth of older adults (age 65+) will lead to significant financial and logistical burdens on the nation's healthcare system. As the population ages, there will be a greater need for preventive, acute, rehabilitative, and long-term health care services for older adults, as well as a need for tools to enable them to function independently during everyday activities. Tele-monitoring devices for aging in place have gained in popularity in recent years, including devices for home rehabilitation, remote monitoring, social well-being, and fall detection/prediction. However, encouraging older adults to use these devices is still a difficult task. One of the challenges of current tele-monitoring devices is extended continuous monitoring over months or years. Furthermore, there are key implementation limitations for aging in place technology: false alarms, privacy concerns, vision obstruction/occlusion, the need to use the device for long periods of time, finite battery life, an RF communication failure. Recent advances in smart textiles have opened new avenues to address the challenges of conventional tele-monitoring systems. We propose to design and commercialize a residential wall-to-wall and up-the-stairs smart carpet that will substantially improve the ability of older adults to safely age in place. The smart carpet will be able to detect falls, monitor the ability of a person to rise from the floor, and predict when the risk of falls ad frailty are significant based on gradual changes in motor performance. This system can also generate alerts to request immediate assistance when needed with minimal false alarms. In our pilot study, Dr. Najafi (contact-PI) and his team at the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP), University of Arizona, designed a small scale smart carpet using highly flexible conductive yarn (patent pending). In this STTR-Phase I, we will design and build a larger scale smart carpet prototype (300cm×300cm with pixel resolution of 1cm2) suitable for proof of concept clinical trials to demonstrate its accuracy in detecting postural transitions, sitting, standing, gait, falls, etc. During Phase II, a full-size smart carpet, suitable for residetial use and home tele-monitoring, will be designed and clinically validated for assessing fall risk, frailty, and automatic fall detection during daily home use. The proposed technology will have a significant impact on the ability of older adults to age in place. The smart carpet will screen for fall risk and frailty in older adults, which will lead to timely intervention. Furthermore, this capet can potentially reduce the number of falls among this population, which would help alleviate healthcare costs in older adults as well as improve quality of life by allowing them to remain in their homes. Continuous in-home tele-monitoring will also reduce the possibility of injury or death in older adults by requesting immediate assistance after a fall. Finally, this technology wil provide peace of mind to older adults by reducing their fear of injury and enabling them to feel comfortable aging in place, thereby improving their quality of life.