Smart walker attachment helps keep seniors safer

August 22, 2022
Smart walker attachment helps keep seniors safer

Older adults can now safely move around on their own – engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have built a motion-detecting device that attaches to mobility aids such as walkers and rollators. The battery-operated device, known as “WalkWise,” will keep tabs on seniors whilst allowing them to move independently.

WalkWise is an invention birthed by company CEO Peter Chamberlain when he was still an engineering graduate student at MIT. At the time, he was looking for a way of remotely checking in on the well-being of his grandmother without having to rely on fitness trackers or complex motion detectors installed at her home.

Chamberlain devised a small, accelerometer-type device that could be fastened to the front wheel of his grandmother’s walker: the device would record wheel revolutions as it was used, and relay that data via Bluetooth to a cellular router plugged into an electrical outlet on one wall.

The router, in turn, will relay the data to an online server. A personalised on-screen dashboard will allow family members, physical therapists, or other caregivers to remotely and inconspicuously check-in on the senior user.

The WalkWise device is most importantly able to detect if and when the senior user has fallen over, and will send out an immediate alert that the senior may have suffered a fall.

The device is currently in use by health care organisations in 12 US states. Individual users initially pay an initiation fee, after which a monthly subscription is required.

Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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