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Electrical and computer engineers at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, are developing a technology to predict when a person might fall. They created a small prototype wireless sensor that analyzes posture and gait, and sends an alert when there is a break in routine.

The alert could signal muscle or vision changes, or may even be due to a drug interaction.

The first step involves building a database of the patient’s normal movements, including standing up and sitting. A future variation would then indicate instability, warning that a fall may be imminent. For some, even a simple fall could prove deadly.

Technology like this could benefit not only the geriatric community but patients with balance issues from disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy or dementia.

The technology, they say, is currently small enough to be clipped to a belt, but may ultimately be produced as a pressure sensor insole that could also help acquire additional gait analysis.

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