Like many remote monitoring tech companies dedicated to helping seniors age in place, the Doppler Frequency Signature developed by Villanova University’s College of Engineering wants to revolutionize, as well as modernize, at-home fall awareness technology that breaks away from archaic devices of the past, like those advertised by LifeCall’s “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” TV commercials from 1987, reports The Atlantic.
Villanova’s Center for Advanced Communications, which is developing the tech, is headed by Dr. Moeness Amin, who The Atlantic credits as the lone academic representative at several NATO conferences on through-the-wall radar imaging.
Dr. Amin’s research focuses on the various applications for radar imaging technology, including search and rescue, military and law enforcement such as robberies and hostage situations
In these fields, the technology’s ability to detect whether there are people behind walls, or inside buildings, is where the Doppler tech becomes applicable to the senior care space and determining whether an individual has fallen in their home.
But the technology has to be able to know the difference in whether an individual has really suffered a fall or is simply lying down. Cue the 53-page algorithm, which measures parameters such as extreme frequency magnitude, extreme frequency ratio and length of event.
With the algorithm, the Doppler system will not only detect and classify the fall—if someone fell forward as opposed to backwards, and vice versa—but it will also localize the fall, informing family where the incident occurred in the person’s house (living room, bathroom, kitchen, etc.)
“In the future, I think the radar is going to be like a companion, living with the person, learning about the habits of the person, the way he walks, the way he sits, the way he stands,” Dr. Amin said in the article.
Written by Jason Oliva