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Floor-integrated optical fall detector for frail people

: Maschke, Ronny; Taudt, Christopher; Rudek, Florian; Hartmann, Peter


Stella, Ettore ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.; European Optical Society -EOS-:
Multimodal Sensing: Technologies and Applications : 24-27 June 2019, Munich, Germany
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2019 (Proceedings of SPIE 11059)
Paper 110591A, 6 S.
Conference "Multimodal Sensing - Technologies and Applications" <2019, Munich>
Optical Metrology Conference <2019, Munich>
Fraunhofer IWS ()
fall detector; Smart Home und AAL; strain birefringence

In Germany there are millions of people in retirement age which are living alone. Approximately 30% of them come into emergency situation because of a fall once a year. If the fall leads to bone fracture, the person isn’t able to get up by itself and if there is nobody recognizing the situation, the fall can lead to death. For this purpose, a detector was developed, which can detect a person hitting the ground and send a signal to a family member in case of emergency. The detector is based on an optical sensor, which makes it insensitive to outer factors like humidity or thermal drifts. Vice versa it won’t apply any electromagnetic radiation onto medical devices situated in the room. The detector uses the physical effect of strain-induced birefringence. The sensing lmaterial can cover a big area of an apartment, which needs to be watched by a sensor. If the senor is under strain, the polarization vector of the light will change its direction while passing the material and the system will measure an increase of light intensity after a polarizer. Therefore, different materials as epoxy and silicones are set up and measured to characterize the behavior. To discriminate an emergency from normal everyday situation, an algorithm is implemented, which asks for three steps to be positive ere the system triggers a signal. If the system has access to an already existing smart home-system, a signal can be activated to inform the person’s next relatives or even an emergency service. The systems works best, if the apartment is built newly.