HipHope is a new healthcare wearable invented to prevent hip injuries and fractures resulting from falling.The medical device targets especially senior people over 65 years old.
Hip fractures deliver sad statistics every year. 50% of elderly victims of fall-realted hip injuries do not regain their previous mobility, 30% die within the next 12 months due to their deteriorated health condition. Looking at the economical impact, hip fractures are causing a multi-billion dollar burden.
“Hip fractures are a leading cause of morbidity and death in the elderly. They constitute an unsolved burden on society, of epidemic proportions. A reliable device for the prevention of hip fractures is, therefore, an urgent clinical and public health priority” – Prof. Daniel Reis, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
HipHope Technologies was founded in 2011 motivated to take on this challenge and to invent a viable solution to the problem. The company now has developed a working airbag system which prevents injuries when falling. The wearable comes in form of a comfortable, lightweight belt which is worn around the waste. In case of a fall several sensors detect the movement and inflate the airbags in fractions of a second. When the falling person hits the floor the air cushions reduce the impact on the hips of the person.
An artificial hip joint (left) and X-ray of a human hip
HipHope has developed a sophisticated algorithm which can distinct between fall-like events and a real fall. In case an emergency is detected and the airbag is inflated the smart wearable sends an alert to a predefined destination to call for help.
“As the Director of Patient Safety & Risk Management at Israel’s biggest and leading medical center , I’ve been excited by the innovative design and technology proposed by Hip-Hope team. Following that, we have signed a joint research agreement with the company and Sheba Medical Center is going to serve as Hip-Hope’s primary Beta site.” – Prof. Amitai Ziv, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Israel
The device offers additional functionality with motion and pre-fall motion data logging, a self-operated distress button and built-in pockets for personal items. Currently the medical gadget is tested at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel. HipHope will be worn by a few hundred patients, in three different wards, during their hospital stay, as part of a large-scale joint field research. During the field test the research team will include logging and analysis of motion data to verify the fall detection algorithm’s reliability as well as usability and compliance aspects.
cover picture: HipHope device as seen at the Wearable Tech Fair in London 2015