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The inclusion of a barometer in a wearable fall detector has been shown to improve the detection accuracy by measuring the altitude change associated with a fall event. However, the barometer is a power-hungry sensor, and the sensing power of barometer can be the dominant power consumption source in a wearable fall detector. In this study, we propose a triggering method that reduces barometer power consumption and prolongs the battery life. This approach utilizes a hermetically-sealed and waterproof enclosure, with a small inlet covered by a semi-permeable membrane (SPM) to delay the time at which equilibrium between the internal and external pressures is reached, allowing the barometer to be woken from an idle low-power mode and capture the rising air pressure caused by the decrease in altitude during the fall. Two alternative signal processing methods were applied to the pressure waveform to detect the rising pressure pattern, a differential moving average filter (DMAF) and a Kalman filter (KF). The proposed fall detector was evaluated with data collected from a laboratory-based trial and a free-living trial, in which the barometric pressure data, recorded in open-air, were passed through a mathematical model of the leaky enclosure and SPM assembly. The results show that the proposed fall detector with a 3.7V, 140mAh lithium-polymer battery provides a long battery life (DMAF 447 days, KF 444 days) while not compromising the sensitivity (DMAF 91.8%, KF 91.9%), specificity (DMAF 95.2% and KF 95.5%), or the false alarm rate (DMAF 0.035 alarms/hour and KF 0.064 alarms/hour).
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering
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