Health & Wellbeing

Wearable airbag designed to protect seniors when they fall

Wearable airbag designed to pr...
The ActiveProtective airbag (pictured undeployed) reportedly reduces impact to the hip bones by 90 percent
The ActiveProtective airbag (pictured undeployed) reportedly reduces impact to the hip bones by 90 percent
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The ActiveProtective airbag (pictured undeployed) reportedly reduces impact to the hip bones by 90 percent
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The ActiveProtective airbag (pictured undeployed) reportedly reduces impact to the hip bones by 90 percent
A diagram of the airbag
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A diagram of the airbag
The airbag deployed
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The airbag deployed
One of the current prototypes
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One of the current prototypes
A rendering of the airbag in its usual state ...
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A rendering of the airbag in its usual state ...
... and after being deployed
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... and after being deployed

For anyone who uses a car, collisions are an ever-present danger – that's why vehicles are equipped with safety features such as airbags. For senior citizens, however, simply falling down can also result in life-changing injuries. With that in mind, Pennsylvania-based company ActiveProtective is developing a wearable airbag that deploys in the event of a fall, to protect seniors' hip bones.

ActiveProtective's Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Robert Buckman, first came up with the idea when working as a trauma surgeon. He noticed how many elderly people were being brought into hospitals with broken hips due to falls, and how they often never entirely recovered from the injuries.

The resulting airbag is designed to be worn like a belt, either on top of or beneath the clothing. When its onboard 3D motion sensors detect atypical motion that's unique to falling, it uses a cold gas inflator (the same type used in seatbelt-mounted airbags) to deploy a slab-like airbag that runs down the sides of the hips. When the wearer hits the ground, the bag reduces impact force to the hip bones by a claimed 90 percent.

... and after being deployed
... and after being deployed

Functional testing of the device is taking place at Operative Experience, a Maryland-based business also owned by Buckman that builds human cadaver simulators used for teaching combat casualty and emergency trauma surgery. Testing of the airbag has already begun, using a replica of a 90 year-old woman.

So far, the results have reportedly been very promising. The company tells us that human trials are scheduled to begin this year, with commercialization planned for the end of 2016.

Source: ActiveProtective via Free Enterprise

5 comments
Christoffer Sperling
You could mention it is a complete chine-style copy of the Swedish "Hövding" (which we covered the Hovding here: http://www.gizmag.com/hovding-inflatable-airbag-collar-purchase/29828/ - Ed.)
Gadgeteer
How do you figure that, Christoffer? First, it was designed in Pennsylvania, not China. Second, it's worn around the waist and protects the hips, not on the neck. If that's your belief, why isn't the Hovding a "complete copy" of Honda's motorcycle airbag? Which is a copy of automotive airbags.
Anastasios Glykos
Very useful technology for the protection of the elderly. It would be interesting to know what it would cost and if it can be re-used.
StWils
Boys I could care less who was inspired by whom. Extend this idea to protect an ultralight pilot! As much as I like the idea of ultralight flight the landings can sometimes be abrupt and lethal. A crash cushion suit would be a great idea. I would also be a lot happier buying one made anywhere but China.
Vlady Feldman
please see http://shokkstop.com/technology-2/shoulder-pads/ Can be in any shape and no electronic....