Airbag Protective Garments for Falls Intervention

Period of Performance: 03/01/1989 - 08/31/1989


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triangle Research & Development Corp.
P.O. Box 12696
Research Triangle, NC 27709
Principal Investigator


A Phase I program is proposed to determine the technical feasibility for development of a protective garment system that could provide a new measure of protection for the elderly by sensing a fall in sufficient time to inflate strategically-placed airbags and cushion the body against injurious impact. Based upon preliminary testing and significant experience in airbag technologies, it is believed that such a system can be satisfactorily designed and developed, and would complement other efforts already underway. During the proposed effort, both the sensing and impact problems will be better defined through experimental testing. Strategic subsystems for falls sensing, valving and pressurization, airbag sizing and location, and an instrumented anthropomorphic dummy. If successful, this system could potentially reduce the number of broken hips and other injuries resulting from falls, particularly for the elderly. It may also have application to rehabilitative and post-operative patients as well as specific falls-sensitive occupational and sports areas. For aging populations, the system could potentially reduce medical costs due to such injury, encourage patient locomotion and exercise, and improve their sense of independence and confidence.