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Assessment Test Framework for Collecting and Evaluating Fall-Related Data Using Mobile Devices

Assessment Test Framework for Collecting and Evaluating Fall-Related Data Using Mobile Devices

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Draft version of ICCHP 2012 publication - final version is available here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1480p76711735117/?MUD=MP
Draft version of ICCHP 2012 publication - final version is available here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1480p76711735117/?MUD=MP

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Published by: Martin on Jul 12, 2012
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Assessment Test Framework for Collecting andEvaluating Fall-Related Data using MobileDevices
Stefan Almer
1
, Josef Kolbitsch
1
, Johannes Oberzaucher
2
, and Martin Ebner
1
1
Institute for Information Systems and Computer MediaGraz University of TechnologyInffeldgasse 16c, 8010 Graz, Austria
stefan.almer@student.tugraz.atjosef.kolbitsch@tugraz.at martin.ebner@tugraz.athttp://www.iicm.edu
2
Institute for Rehabilitation and Ambient Assisted Living TechnologiesCEIT RALTECAm Concorde Park 2, 2320 Schwechat, Austria
j.oberzaucher@ceit.athttp://www.ceit.at
Abstract.
With an increasing population of older people the numberof falls and fall-related injuries is on the rise. This will cause changesfor future health care systems, and fall prevention and fall detection willpose a major challenge. Taking the multimodal character of fall-relatedparameters into account, the development of adequate strategies for fallprevention and detection is very complex. Therefore, it is necessary tocollect and analyze fall-related data.This paper describes the development of a test framework to performa variety of assessment tests to collect fall-related data. The aim of theframework is to easily set up assessment tests and analyze the data re-garding fall-related behaviors. It offers an open interface to support avariety of devices. The framework consists of a Web service, a relationaldatabase and a Web-based backend. In order to test the framework, amobile device client recording accelerometer and gyroscope sensor data isimplemented on the iOS platform. The evaluation, which includes threemobility assessment tests, demonstrates the sensor accuracy for move-ment analysis for further feature extraction.
Keywords:
fall detection, fall prevention, mobile devices, restful Webservice
1 Introduction
The demographic change by [8] shows that the average age of the Europeaninhabitants will increase. A recent projection by [9] shows that in 2060, thenumber of people aged 80 or over is three times larger than in 2008 and the rate of 
Draft version - originally published in: Almer, S.; Kolbitsch, J.; Oberzaucher, J.; Ebner, M. (2012)Assessment Test Framework for Collecting and Evaluating Fall-Related Data Using Mobile Devices. - in:13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2012), Part II.(2012), Miesenberger, K. et al (Ed.), Springer Lecture Notes, Berlin-Heidelberg S. 83 - 90
 
people aged 65 and over will double. With the rising age of the population also thenumber of falls and fall-related injuries rise [10]. According to [10] approximately28-35% of people aged 65 and over fall each year about 2 to 4 times while 32-42% of the people aged 70 fall. Therefore, falls are a relevant factor in thesociety especially in the in group of older and disabled people and will raise newchallenges for the healthcare, care systems and retirement plans.Therefore, fall prevention and fall detection will become a major challenge. Toperform fall detection, it is important to distinguish between activities of dailyliving and a fall. Current approaches deal with the fact that a fall-like behaviorhas a higher acceleration than normal activities [12]. Consequently, it is possibleto define an acceleration threshold where a fall is detected [12]. According to[11], also the position of the sensor leads to different body accelerations whichmakes it more difficult to identify a fall-like behavior. Taking all the facts intoaccount, fall prevention and fall detection is a complex task.With the growing success of mobile devices, especially smartphones, it canbe observed that such devices are becoming more accepted among older people.Moreover, modern mobile devices are equipped with the necessary hardwaresensors as well the required software capabilities for performing automatic falldetection. Using smartphones has the advantage of cost effectiveness, robustand stable hardware as well as the form factor, which makes them well-suitedfor pervasive fall detection.In order to develop an adequate algorithm for automatic fall detection andprevention by using smartphones, an assessment-based test framework has beenimplemented. The purpose of the framework is to collect (fall-related) motiondata in order to evaluate and analyze them regarding fall detection, taking dif-ferent activities and positions of the smartphone into account. The frameworkuses an open and easy to use interface while supporting different devices withtheir sensors. This paper shows the development of a Web-based test framework,used by a variety of mobile devices in order to record motion data. Furthermore,the architecture and the poof-of-concept is discussed.
2 Related Work
Fall detection methods are divided into three main approaches using a wearabledevice, camera-based or ambience device [4]. This paper focuses on the wearabledevice approach by using mobile devices and its embedded sensors such as ac-celerometer and gyroscope for measuring body movement. The advantage of thisapproach is that it is independent of the user’s location and a fall-like behaviorcan be directly assigned to the user.[5], [6] and [7] use mobile phones equipped with accelerometers to detect afall. The application by [5] monitors the X, Y and Z acceleration in order todetect a fall. [6] developed an application running on Google’s Android mobileplatform and presented a fall detection algorithm. The system proposed by [7]focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones for falldetection.
 
Fall prevention is a wide research topic and varies in the ways a fall is pre-vented or predicted and differentiates between usage based on context such asnursing home, hospital, home or living in the community. According to [14], [15],[16], [17], and [10] the following most common fall prevention methods can beidentified:
Assessment tests: By performing common clinical mobility assessment tests,the fall risk of a user can be determined.
Adjustment of environment and walking aids: Potential tripping hazards canbe removed and by using walking aids the risk of falling can be reduced.
Gait Analyses: Based on the analysis of the gait pattern, a potential fall canbe predicted and the user is alarmed.
Education: By clarifying the fall risk factors to the involved parties, fall riskscan be reduced.
Exercise/training: Specifically developed training sessions and exercises strengthenthe patient’s body and thus reduce the risk of falling.
Medications: The use of the wrong medication can lead to reduced alertness,balance and gait.
3 Framework Architecture
In order to evaluate and analyze fall-related data gathered by devices duringassessment-based tests, a framework for collecting motion data is required. Thedescribed framework provides an open interface to support a variety of devices.The framework is designed to offer great flexibility and extensibility in orderto integrate different types of devices and sensors. The recorded motion datais saved in a consistent way on a consolidated database backend and analyzedafterwards.The framework consists of three main components: database, interface andclient as depicted in Fig. 1. A client-server architecture based on a 3-tier archi-tecture is chosen. This architecture offers a clean separation of the presentation,application and data layer.The data layer consists of a database for storing test-related data as well asthe device types with their configured sensors. The relational database ensuresintegrity and consistency of the data. The application layer resides on the serverside and implements the Application Programming Interface (API). The inter-face is implemented as a Web service according to the Representational StateTransfer (REST) architectural style [13]. This approach offers best flexibilityfor implementing the client regardless of the programming language. Therefore,different kinds of devices used for measuring motion can be integrated into theframework. The client layer is responsible for recording motion data and usesthe Web service API for storing test-related data.
3.1 Features of the Framework
The framework features an assessment test-based approach. With an assessmenttest, the following properties are assigned:

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