Contributions of electronic sciences to the problem of falls of old age population

 

P.E. Caicedo, C.F. Rengifo, L.E. Rodríguez

 

 

This paper aims to present a state of the art concerning the contributions of electronic sciences to the problem of falls in elder population. The studied literature was classified based on a taxonomy proposed by the authors, consisting of 8 thematic areas which are: etiology, epidemiology, prediction, consequences, prevention, measurement, detection of falls and detection of daily activities. From the literature review it was concluded that the most important contributions of the electronic sciences emerge from the development of motion capture devices as well as from the different algorithms proposed to process the resulting information generated by these devices. Thanks to the combination of these two aspects (algorithms and devices) it was possible to measure accurately variables as walking speed, length and duration of the step, position of the center of gravity and postural balance. The measurement of these variables, in turn, has introduced significant advances in the form in which the risk of falling is assessed. Despite the above, there are many questions that must still be resolved, one of them is: How to convert the quantitative information associated with measurement of biomechanical variables in to qualitative valuations? From the above, more specific questions arise as: what are the acceptable limits for the asymmetry of the step? How to determine when a level of postural balance can be considered unsafe?