Fraunhofer sticks up for the elderly

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering have invented a walking stick which will automatically call for help if the owner falls over.


Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) have invented a walking stick which will automatically call for help if the owner falls over.



If a sensor in the ‘i-Stick’ registers that it is in a horizontal position, it sends a signal to a control unit, which plays a message telling the owner to pick it up.



If the stick remains on the floor, the control box is programmed to call either an ambulance directly or a chosen relative.



The ‘i-Stick’ features in Fraunhofer ISES’s Assisted Living Lab, an experimental apartment to study innovations for elderly people in a realistic setting with smart sensor technology hidden everywhere.



Other innovations at the lab include a cup which ‘feels’ whether it has been emptied and an intelligent refrigerator which monitors the expiration dates of its contents.



The goal of the project is to allow elderly people to live in a familiar environment for as long as possible using information technology to get to know the resident in his own home and support him in his daily life.