Increasing rates of chronic illnesses among U.S. adults, a growing population of people aged 65 and older, and the desire to age at home combine to drive developers to innovate passive monitoring technology to help the elderly stay safe and healthy. We’ve written about plenty of fall detection systems. At CES 2023, we saw The Sedimentum emergency system and AltumView’s Sentinaire, two home systems to protect older people. Engineers at the University of Waterloo recently demonstrated AI-driven, low-power, millimeter-wave wireless technology that detects falls and monitors seniors’ health.

The Waterloo researchers published a paper on IEEE XPlore that describes the system. The paper’s title lifts the veil on the major tech elements involved: “AI-Powered Non-Contact In-Home Gait Monitoring and Activity Recognition System Based on mm-Wave FMCW Radar and Cloud Computing.” Rather than using wearable sensors, the engineers designed a system with wireless millimeter wave radar devices developed for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Users can go about their daily lives while the system monitors their walking and other physical activity. The Waterloo researchers trained deep learning AI models with Doppler maps based on real-life home activities. The system’s model classifies in-home physical activity of trained subjects with 93% accuracy. The accurcy for new subjects is 86%, according to the paper.

The Walerloo system does more than recognize activiy. The system also tracks overall activity levels, bathroom use, gait paramentes, sleep/sendentary/active/out-of-home durations, and current physical parameters. The engineers trained deep neural learning models to alert caregivers when a user’s data indicates a change in mobility, and greater fall threats. In additon, the system can notify clinical personnel of the likely onsiet of urinary track infections (UTIs) and other health threats.

The W#waterloo system doesn’t require wearables and therefore avoids m any concerns about patient compliance, battery life, and battery charging. Waterloo partnered with Gold Sentinel to install the new system in long-term care homes.