Self-balancing shoes could reduce falls
21st August 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
The damage a fall can do later in life is a serious concern, the NHS states that: “Around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.”
Those who have limited mobility are often not as confident or steady on their feet, so though they have a limited chance of tripping whilst using the stairs due to mobility facilities such as new outdoor stairlifts, they may still fall whilst moving around normally.
A US company hopes to reduce the number of falls with a new self–balancing shoe. Though it is currently only in the prototype stage, it is believed this piece of clever technology could seriously reduce the rates of accidents in older adults. The B-Shoe uses a motion sensor, this speaks to a micro-processor and it is up to an algorithm to study the balance of the wearer. If the wearer shows signs of being unbalanced, a small traction device is triggered in an effort to maintain the balance. The shoe moves a foot backwards in order to better balance the weight, this is something people do naturally however reactions get slower as we age therefore the shoe compensates.
The B-Shoe is currently in the testing stage, however the company are looking for further investment to progress it through the testing and manufacturing phases. They believe this could take up to two years. There is hope that eventually the technology within the shoe will have the ability to speak to other devices, alerting family members or carers when a loved one has potentially suffered a fall. These shoes could therefore not only cut down the potential falls people experience, but the time it takes for aid to arrive if they do fall.