A Chinese company has developed a device that uses WiFi signals to detect when someone has fallen.
For the elderly, a fall can be very serious, even life-threatening. Ken Yip, CEO and founder of Shanghai-based startup Perspicace, hopes to avoid this type of incident with the Wifi Bio-detector, a device that uses WiFi and AI algorithms to detect when someone has fallen. It joins other tech devices designed to help the elderly, including a cooking kit that helps the elderly socialise and an e-bike that reduces the risk of accidents.
Normally, in an empty room, a WiFi router distributes signals in a stable and predictable way. However, when someone enters the room, the signal is ‘disturbed’. This disturbance can be measured, but the challenge is to discern between someone performing everyday activities from someone in need of assistance. To collect data, Yip hired people to go about their daily life, while recording their movements and any changes to the WiFi signals. Yip also hired stunt performers to fall in different ways. In all, more than 5 million data sets were created over five years of research.
Yip also points out that the technology is actually less invasive than a camera, “We only take signal noise and nobody knows what it means [except for us].” The company is currently working on more than a dozen projects, most with luxury residential developers in China.