RISE ICT stories: Intelligent Insole for Elderly Fall Prevention

Prototype WIISEL

Falls are a major health issue for the elderly, both in their immediate effects, such as fractures and head injuries, as well as longer-term problems, such as disability and loss of independence. RISE Acreo participated in WIISEL (Wireless Insole for Independent and Safe Elderly Living), an EU-project to develop a smart insole that detects risk for falling.

30 % of people over 65 and 50 % of those over 80 fall each year. People who fall once are two to three times as likely to fall again within a year. WIISEL was launched in 2011, and aims to assess fall risk in elderly populations. Through the cooperation of clinical and academic partners, institutes and companies, a new intelligent insole for the elderly was developed.

“We have constructed a system that continuously monitors the gait, through a wearable and unobtrusive sensing insole connected to a data analysis system,” explained Dr Elisenda Reixach, Cetemmsa.

The innovative insole is placed in the shoe to monitor walking, and could detect changes in gait and balance in everyday life. Thanks to a wireless system built into the insole, data from the movement of the foot is sent to a mobile device or computer, where caregivers can follow the evolution of a patient’s gait.

RISE Acreo was responsible for short-distance communication of insole to smartphone, and inertial sensors embedded in the insole, as well as contributing to electronic design, signal processing and software design. The prototype has been successfully tested in real-life conditions.

“Acreo has been invaluable to the project, contributing both technical knowledge and general support,” said Dr Reixach.

The FP7-ICT-project, WIISEL, was co-ordinated by the technical institute Cetemmsa, in Barcelona. Spain. Eight partners in six countries participated.

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Project website: www.wiisel.eu

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