RiskWatch: Clinical Fall Risk Gait Assessment System

Period of Performance: 09/30/2007 - 04/30/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orthocare Innovations, LLC
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The economic and health consequences of falls in the elderly population within the US are enormous. The problem has many contributing factors and determination of who is most at risk for falls remains a difficult task. This project will develop a system that continuously measures changes in gait that have been strongly associated with fall risk in previous studies. Software will analyze the collected data and will provide feedback to clinicians on the estimated fall risk from gait aberrations. Development will leverage the existing StepWatch Activity Monitor, a well-accepted, highly accurate instrument for measuring walking activity, to decrease development time and risks. Additional sensor modalities will be incorporated into the new system to more completely describe variation in gait during activities of daily living. Alternative constructions of the device will be evaluated for appropriateness based on human factors. Proof of concept trials will be conducted to evaluate the system and inform improvements in design. Investigations will be conducted with elders with a history f falls and an age-matched cohort without previous falling. Falls in the elderly population is an increasing problem in the US that costs billions of dollars per year and negatively impacts health and quality of life. This project will produce a gait variation monitoring system that helps treating clinicians to more effectively evaluate fall risk so that appropriate intervention is focused on those who need it most.