Research Based Technology


Aging leads to deterioration

As people age, deteriorations can occur, both physical and mental. The decline in muscle mass between the ages of 40 and 80 has been estimated to range from 30 to 60%. When certain declines occur, they can lead to increases in fall risk. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.


signals of Decline

These deteriorations can reveal themselves through various “signals“ - such as a person’s step length, step width, walking speed, and more. The changing of these signals can show if the above deteriorations are worsening.


monitoring of signals

By monitoring these signals, it is possible to determine who is facing an increased rate of deterioration. From this, you can then determine who is likely to have a fall. With the Heron Point Fall Detection system, facilities can passively monitor their residents for these fall risk signals.

Related Published Research

A gait speed decline of more than 0.15 m/sec/year is predictive of falls. The reduction in gait speed may signal a loss of physical functioning, the onset of disease, or the deterioration of motor control centers in the frontal lobe. There is a non-linear relation between gait speed and falls with a greater risk of outdoor falls in faster walkers and greater risk of indoor falls in slow walkers.

In 44.4% of the participants, gait speed was below 1.0 m/s, indicating increased fall risk. Low gait speed was significantly associated with a higher number of depressive symptoms. Results indicate that gait speed monitoring with cut-off 1.0 m/s could represent a useful tool for identifying individuals who are vulnerable but not yet disabled and could benefit from fall-preventive exercise.

Logistic regression analysis revealed that gait speed and step length were each strongly associated with falls. A one-standard-deviation increase in step length conferred a 6.05 times higher odds of fall.

Greater intra-individual variability in step length and double-support phase were linearly associated with the risk of multiple falls whereas there was a non-linear association for gait speed, cadence and step time variability. These gait measures may be useful clinical measures of the risk of frequent falling in older people.

Increased gait variability, specifically with mediolateral perturbations, poses a particular challenge for elderly adults and is linked to increased falls risk.

Individuals with extreme step width variability (either low or high step width variability) were more likely to report a fall in the past year than individuals with moderate step width variability.