A group of Northeastern University student researchers has developed an automated emergency alert system to help elderly people in sudden need of medical attention.
Under the direction of Charles DiMarzio, an associate professor in the departments of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical and industrial engineering, the students created a wireless wrist device that automatically alerts emergency responders should it detect a sudden change in the user’s vital signs or speed of movement.
The wireless device, designed to resemble a wristwatch, monitors vital signs, including oxygen levels and heart rate, and wirelessly transmits the information so those responding to an emergency know as much as possible prior to arriving at the scene.
The idea behind the device came from student Max Flaherty after his family’s experience with another, less technologically advanced product. A member of his family who was wearing a non-automated emergency alert device suffered fatal internal injuries after falling down a set of stairs.
’I wanted to design something that a person can easily wear and has the capacity to alert emergency responders automatically if the user becomes unconscious,’ said Flaherty.
’No other commercial system currently integrates wrist-worn fall detection plus vital-sign and emergency monitoring in the way that this system does,’ added Chris Udall, a student who worked with Flaherty on the project.