Development of a monitoring system for physical frailty in independent elderly
35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC)
Frailty is of increasing concern due to the associated decrease in independence of elderly who suffer from the condition. An innovative system was designed in order to objectively quantify the level of frailty based on a series of remote tests, each of which used objects similar to those found in peoples’ homes. A modified ball, known as the Grip-ball was used to evaluate maximal grip force and exhaustion during an entirely remote assessment. A smartphone equipped with a tri-axial accelerometer was used to estimate gait velocity and physical activity level. Finally, a bathroom scale was used to assess involuntary weight loss. The smart phone processes all of the data generated, before it is transferred to a remote server where the user, their entourage, and any medical professionals with authorization can access the data. This innovative system could enable the onset of frailty to be detected early, thus giving sufficient time for a targeted intervention program to be implemented, thereby increasing independence for elderly users.