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Journal Article


Sabatini AM, Ligorio G, Mannini A, Genovese V, Pinna L. IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil. Eng. 2015; 24(7): 774-783.


(Copyright © 2015, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers))






This paper investigates a fall detection system based on the integration of an inertial measurement unit with a barometric altimeter (BIMU). The vertical motion of the body part the BIMU was attached to was monitored on-line using a method that delivered drift-free estimates of the vertical velocity and estimates of the height change from the floor. The experimental study included activities of daily living of 7 types and falls of 5 types, simulated by a cohort of 25 young healthy adults. The downward vertical velocity was thresholded at 1.38 m/s, yielding 80% sensitivity (SE), 100% specificity (SP) and a mean prior-to-impact time of 157 ms (range 40-300 ms). The soft falls, i.e., those with downward vertical velocity above 0.55 m/s and below 1.38 m/s were analyzed post-impact. Six fall detection methods, tuned to achieve 100% SE, were considered to include features of impact, change of posture and height, singularly or in association with one another. No single feature allowed for 100% SP. The detection accuracy marginally improved when the height change was considered in association with either the impact or the change of posture; the post-impact fall detection method that analyzed the impact and the change of posture together achieved 100% SP.

Language: en


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