Elder care

Radar fall detector aimed at booming home care market

Healthcare tech supplier Essence Group has signed a deal with Texas Instruments to target the high-potential independent living market.

The multi-sensor fall detector will use Texas Instruments’ mmWave sensor. The fall detector’s unique monitoring capability enables elderly people to lead independent, safer lives. The advanced technology has been awarded “IoT Health & Wellness Safety Solution of the Year” as part of the IoT Breakthrough awards for 2020.

Essence Radar Texas Instruments

The US home care market is expected to grow from $100bn in 2016 to $225bn by 2024, driven by the aging baby boomer population.

Essence has 50 million devices installed in more than four million homes globally. Texas Instruments turned over nearly $16bn in 2018.

Using Texas Instruments’ mmWave technology, Essence’s new fall detector is a battery-operated wireless radar-based device that improves independence by providing accurate fall verification – immediately alerting healthcare providers if a person falls over.

The radar forms part of the Essence SmartCare’s Care@Home senior monitoring platform. The platform uses an integrated series of devices placed around the house with a variety of safety measures including an activity monitoring, physical and verbal panic buttons and various fall detection and prevention methods.

A recent study found that 95% of elderly people want to live alone in later life. Of those elderly people living alone, a third fall each year. Falls can have serious consequences, with 88% resulting in hospitalisation. Many falls go unnoticed for several hours: 60% of people spend 12 hours on the floor and 50% of falls are not reported to a doctor at all.

Dr Haim Amir, CEO and founder of Essence, said: “Independence in later life shouldn’t come at a cost. The use of innovative radar technology significantly increases the accuracy of fall detection, giving peace of mind to caregivers while allowing residents to live freely. By collecting detailed information, we can tailor our response to reduce risk and provide round-the-clock care. Care@Home maintains the privacy of the resident while giving healthcare providers accurate alerts that include the resident’s location in the house, allowing assistance to arrive quicker. This is a gamechanger for the elderly care market.”

Robert Ferguson, manager at Texas Instruments, said: “The 3D sensing and on-chip processing capabilities of TI mmWave sensors are opening the doors for applications that require privacy-conscious, intelligence at the edge. Essence has taken advantage of the accuracy and intelligence of our technology to develop an innovative product for today’s elderly monitoring applications.”

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