More and more seniors are choosing to age in place, staying in their own homes instead of moving in with a loved one or to a retirement community. This means happier, more independent living for many seniors, but it also comes with certain dangers-- the biggest of which is falling.

Falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths among those over 65. Fortunately, new technologies are being developed to help. Scientists are using and adapting 3D sensors liked the ones used in gaming consoles such as the Xbox, as well as radar technology to develop new monitors that can sense and alert caregivers/loved ones when a senior falls.

One of the difficulties is programing machines to recognize what is and isn’t a fall. After all, you don’t want emergency alerts going out every time a pet jumps off the couch, or a grandchild comes to visit and crawls on the floor. And of course, researchers aren’t going to ask actual seniors to fall in order to get accurate data on what seniors falling looks like in 3D. So the solution has been to get college aged models to learn to walk and fall like a senior.

One of the new fall sensing systems is currently being tested in a care facility in Missouri, and has successfully detected some falls. When it does, the staff is sent an email with a 3D silhouette video clip of the fall. This allows the staff not only to see what happened, but what lead up to it.

As the technology continues to improve and eventually goes commercial, it should help more seniors age in place safely.