Accurate, fast fall detection using gyroscopes and accelerometer-derived posture information

TitleAccurate, fast fall detection using gyroscopes and accelerometer-derived posture information
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsLi Q, Stankovic JA, Hanson MA, Barth AT, Lach J, Zhou G
Conference Name2009 International Conference on Body Sensor Networks
Keywordsaccelerometer-derived posture information, accelerometers, activities of daily living, aged population, biomechanics, biomedical measurement, body orientation, dynamic transitions, false negatives, false positives, fast fall detection, geriatrics, gyroscopes, position measurement, static postures, tri-axial accelerometers

Falls are dangerous for the aged population as they can adversely affect health. Therefore, many fall detection systems have been developed. However, prevalent methods only use accelerometers to isolate falls from activities of daily living (ADL). This makes it difficult to distinguish real falls from certain fall-like activities such as sitting down quickly and jumping, resulting in many false positives. Body orientation is also used as a means of detecting falls, but it is not very useful when the ending position is not horizontal, e.g. falls happen on stairs. In this paper we present a novel fall detection system using both accelerometers and gyroscopes. We divide human activities into two categories: static postures and dynamic transitions. By using two tri-axial accelerometers at separate body locations, our system can recognize four kinds of static postures: standing, bending, sitting, and lying. Motions between these static postures are considered as dynamic transitions. Linear acceleration and angular velocity are measured to determine whether motion transitions are intentional. If the transition before a lying posture is not intentional, a fall event is detected. Our algorithm, coupled with accelerometers and gyroscopes, reduces both false positives and false negatives, while improving fall detection accuracy. In addition, our solution features low computational cost and real-time response.