According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 424,000 people across the world die each year from falls. A total of 37.3 million falls are severe enough to require medical attention. Of course, adults older than 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
Researchers at Scuola Sant’Anna in Italy and EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland are looking to prevent elderly people from falling with a new smart exoskeleton.
The Active Pelvis Orthosis (APO), an exoskeleton worn from the waist down, recognizes in just 350 milliseconds that a person is about to fall and applies force to help the legs counteract the slippage.
The researchers claim in Nature Health Sciences the APO is the first exoskeleton to prevent people from falling. Exoskeletons typically assist or enhance regular movement.
The exoskeleton is made of carbon fiber, so it’s lightweight at just 11 lbs.