Despite the popular expression "Necessity is the mother of invention", in practice, many inventions serve a need that clearly exists yet fall short on delivering a truly effective solution, producing a new category of inventions: the Let's Just Make the Best of Them category. The goal becomes, then, to revisit old products and identify areas for improvement.
Enhanced innovative devices are at the heart of this process, with creations such as devices which address the global water crisis to methods for more quickly detect Alzheimer's Disease being offered up.
Now, Vayyar IMAGING, a company which produces 3D imaging sensors, is applying its own innovative technology towards the service of aging seniors. The Walabat HOME was created for providing assistance after a fall occurs.
How it All Works
The device itself is attached to the surface of an interior wall and acts as a monitor. Once a fall happens, the device springs into action, quickly sending an alert to a few preselected emergency contacts.
Even if the person is not able to move, they can still receive prompt assistance, and also can speak directly to contacts via the device. It works via radio wave technology as opposed to cameras: the result is a solution which is able to detect and then generate a kind of heat-map of the person.
The two advantages are (1) privacy is more easily maintained, and (2) obstacles which prevent monitoring in traditional setups like smoke, fire, steam and obstructing objects are not an issue.
Raviv Melamed, Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of Vayyar, explained the thinking behind the device: “There is a staggering number of adults who fall in their own homes every year. Most falls happen without anybody else knowing that the event occurred. People want to feel comfortable in their homes without the burden of needing to wear a pendant or medical alert device, but they still want the security of knowing that they can get help if they need it. Walabot HOME is so effective because people can set it up and then relax, feeling secure in the knowledge it’s there just in case.”
Best of all, the product will be conveniently priced at 250$ USD, which means that it also will not represent a burden for seniors who are on a fixed income.
Addressing a Growing Need
The truth is that the size of our aging population is dramatically on the rise, and because of this, technology must be engineered and adapted to respond to the unique challenges presented by such a reality.
According to data from a recent UN report, titled "World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision", the number of people above the age of 60 is projected to double by 2050 and still yet triple by the end of this century: in terms of numbers, this represents a global rise from 962 million recorded for 2017, to 2.1 billion in the year 2050, to the biggest growth rate of 3.1 billion in 2100.
Some of the existing solutions on the market for falls include bracelets, or compact one-press remotes, with the aim being to alert emergency responders that assistance is needed in the incident of an unfortunate fall.
The problem with these solutions is that they assume that the person (1) is fully conscious after the fall, and (2) is within reach of the device that is used to call for assistance. The short of it is that these highly flawed solutions will continue to be used until better alternatives like the Walabat HOME continue to appear.
The device, and others like it, create a vision of support and assistance that grants security and peace of mind to a very large and important part of our population.