The vast majority of seniors want to live independently as long as they can do so safely. One of the biggest risks for the elderly is falling; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause for fatal injury for older adults. Emergency alert pendants are now including automatic fall detection, but these can’t help if the user doesn’t wear it.

One of the new passive fall detection systems comes from Vayyar. The company’s Walabot Home use radio waves — much like radar — to detect the presence of a person in a room. Not only can this non-intrusive system detect a body, it can also tell if the person is standing or sitting, moving or motionless.

The system currently is designed to work in a single room, such as a bathroom. If it detects a fall, the user has up to two minutes to press a button to cancel the alert. If the alert is activated, a trusted contact receives a message on their smartphone. The contact can hold a two-way conversation with the user through the Walabot Home.

Vayyar expects to expand the device’s range to include other rooms. In technology demonstrations, the company has shown how the system can detect respiration rate and possibly even heartbeats, and do so for multiple people in the same room. As a result, we expect to see the product’s capabilities increase over time, such as providing activity monitoring.

Installation just requires an AC electrical outlet and WiFi access to the Internet. It does not require any significant technical ability to install and configure. It is available directly from the company for $150; the monthly $5 service fee is waived for the first six months. The result is an unintrusive and passive system that can automatically summon help in the event of a fall.