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Drone-based fall response system in the works

Australian and Iraqi researchers have designed a fall detection and response system that uses sensors and drones to get help to people before an ambulance arrives.

University of South Australia researchers are working with a team from Baghdad’s Middle Technical University to develop the system, which remotely monitors elderly people, detecting abnormalities in their heart rate and temperature that can lead to falls, and provides urgent first aid via a drone if a fall occurs.

Users of the system would wear a device that monitors vital signs using a wireless sensor attached to the upper arm and, should they fall or present physiological abnormalities, it would send a message to an emergency call centre.

UniSA Professor Javaan Chahl said when a case is critical, the centre would dispatch first aid supplies to the person and their carer via drone “up to 105 seconds faster than an ambulance”.

“The system not only correctly measures heart rate and falls with 99 per cent accuracy, but also identifies the elderly person’s location and delivers first aid much faster.”

Chahl’s Baghdadi colleague Dr Sadik Kamel Gharghan added: “We have also designed an advanced smartphone-based program that uses an intelligent autopilot, containing a destination waypoint for planning the path of a drone.”

The fall detection device consists of a microcontroller, two bio-sensors, a GPS module to track the location and a GSM module to send a notification to the smartphones of caregivers.

The second part includes a first aid package, a smartphone and a drone to deliver the package.

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