For elderly folks, suffering a trip or fall can result in serious health complications. Roughly every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, according to the National Council on Aging. And every 19 minutes, a senior dies from a fall. In fact, among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions.
Tel Aviv- and San Francisco-based Vayyar Imaging, an eight-year-old startup developing wireless 3D imaging technology, today detailed a solution called Walabot Home at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. The fall detection gadget, which debuted in October, is getting a price drop: Home now starts at $150 for a limited time, reduced from $250.
“The future of Walabot Home goes far beyond one device offering one service; it is a holistic solution that can be implemented throughout the entire home,” said Ofer Familier, director of business development at Vayyar. “Since launching Walabot Home, we’ve seen how emergency fall detection can save lives, and we feel a sense of urgency to broaden this protection with additional health monitoring capabilities in every room in the home.”
Home, unlike fall detection sensors that rely on cameras or accelerometers, uses low-power radio wave technology to monitor peoples’ movement. This allows it to work in conditions of darkness, smoke, fire, and steam and to sense through curtains, glass, and other occluding objects.
Home attaches to any wall and monitors movement in the background, beaming mobile alerts to a companion app on iOS or Android. Walabot Home owners can tap a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way calling; a physical button on Home connects homeowners to caregivers or family members. And when Home detects a fall, it places calls to loved ones and a preselected emergency service.
“There is a staggering number of adults who fall in their own homes every year. Most falls happen without anybody else knowing that the event occurred,” said Vayyar CEO and chair Raviv Melamed. “People want to feel comfortable in their homes without the burden of needing to wear a pendant or medical alert device, but they still want the security of knowing that they can get help if they need it. Walabot HOME is so effective because people can set it up and then relax, feeling secure in the knowledge it’s there just in case.”
Home is something of a pivot for Vayyar, which began selling products that tapped its 3D imaging technology in 2016. One — the Walabot DIY stud finder, which sees through walls and detect studs and plumbing — had sales in the hundreds of thousands of units.
Separately, Vayyar has demonstrated how its tech can be used to display a 3D model of a cancerous growth in a breast and detect the heartbeat of a sleeping baby in another room.