Meet These High-Tech And Fall Prevention Shoes
Technology has now reached truly amazing stages in multiple areas of our daily lives, but there are some niches where it has not penetrated so thoroughly. The shoes niche is one example where, even though there have been some improvements in the models themselves in terms of comfort, they are not "groundbreaking" novelties, at least in the tech sense.
But, recently, the Israeli startup B-Shoe Technologies has developed some groundbreaking (not literally, and that is the point) new shoes, which incorporate some high-tech features.
There is a nasty statistic stating that, in the United States of America alone, one out of three people aged 65 has fallen and suffered injuries requiring medical assistance. When the age rises, so does the risk, and by the age of 80 almost every elder enters the statistic. All these falls decrease life expectancy and the related healthcare costs reach figures around billions of dollars.
With this statistics in mind, biomechanical engineer Yonatan Manor theorized that the biomechanics of stability are decreased as the years go by, just as other features like hearing or sight. After confirming his theory with physiotherapists and doctors, Manor, together with other engineers, changed the sole of a regular shoe in order to implement a sensor-driven motorized mechanism that can drive the shoe backwards in a gentle and soft manner so that falls can be prevented.
This prototype is being developed for six years now, and some units are being tested in some Israeli hospitals. The sensors embedded in the shoe's heel can detect variations in the user's center of pressure and, if it is going behind the back line of support and there is no reaction from the user within a defined short period of time (some milliseconds), the shoes begin to move backwards, five to seven centimeters, until stability is regained. According to user's feedback, this movement is not "scary" and it does improve balance.
The company has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to obtain financing and, if it all goes well, the shoes can make it to the market within two years.
Diogo Costa • International Innovations