Xbox Meets Fall Prevention Tech at Senior Living HackFest

Video conferencing technology is essential to any telehealth platform, but what happens when you take a popular video game platform and hack it so it serves a different purpose? The product: a new take on fall prevention for seniors. The platform: Xbox. (Yes, that Xbox.)

Held October 18-20 at the 2014 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Exposition in Nashville, Tenn., HackFest challenges teams of participants to “engage with age” by creating a technology-driven tool aimed at improving the lives of older adults and their families.

The recipient of this year’s $5,000 grand prize went to Team Excite for its fall prevention technology that uses the popular Xbox Kinnect motion gaming sensor to measure the gait velocity of seniors.

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By tracking hip measurements and the manner in which seniors move, Excite intends for its hack to be used for rehabilitation therapy purposes in efforts to figure out when someone can leave rehab, walk safely and ultimately reduce the potential for falls.

“The two-day hack-a-thon challenges participants from diverse backgrounds to join forces to hack an existing piece of technology to create a new tool,” said Dan Hermann, senior managing director and head of investment banking at Ziegler, which co-sponsored the event alongside senior living consulting firm The Asbury Group.

Such tools may include software applications, websites, interactive online experiences or devices. Winning teams are determined by a panel of judges, who critique the originality, usability and feasibility of their tech-driven hacks.

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This year’s judges included Majd Alwan, executive director of LeadingAge’s Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST); Neil Borg, managing director of corporate finance at Ziegler; Randy Kirk, executive vice president and chief scientists at Direct Supply; and Kristin Harkness, chief tech wrangler at Wheeling City Tours.

In its inaugural competition that debuted last year at the 2013 LeadingAge conference in Dallas, Team Global Engage, took home the grand prize for their Engage Platform, which enables senior living communities to offer their activities online so elderly, homebound individuals can participate in community happenings remotely.

Written by Jason Oliva

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