Falls are dangerous and costly, especially for the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year there are more than 29 million falls and 28,000 fall-related deaths among older Americans, resulting in more than $31 billion in Medicare costs. We’ve looked at a variety of technologies developed to detect, prevent, or mitigate injury from falls including Sensogram Technologies’ VitalBand smartwatch and Burke Medical Research Institute‘s work with senior fall risk screening. While there are many PERS (personal emergency response system) devices, they have a low rate of usage often because seniors feel embarrassed to wear them. It is essential that any fall monitoring system include a passive detective and notification component that does not rely on the user to summon help.
E-vone, a startup based in Saint-Pierre-Montlimart, France, created a collection of smart shoes with an integrated falling alert system that addresses many of these problems. The collection includes 26 styles of casual shoes for men and women and three rugged models for workers, outdoor sports such as hiking, and security personnel. These look nothing like a typical PERS pendant. The shoes have an embedded accelerometer, a gyroscope, pressure sensor, a GPS, battery, GSM chip, and a Lora (low power, wide area) antenna. When someone falls wearing E-vone shoes and doesn’t get up, the shoe sends a pre-programmed alert including the current location to a caregiver. The shoe also vibrates to let the wearer know someone has been alerted. According to the company, E-vone shoe alarm systems function in more than 120 countries.
E-vone’s falling alert shoes are not yet available, but according to the company’s Facebook page the shoes will launch “very soon.” Pricing for the shoes and monthly service subscriptions will be announced when the shoes are available for sale.