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Differentiating slip-induced falls from normal walking and successful recovery after slips using kinematic measures

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Slip-induced falls are prevalent and serious in occupational settings. Fall detection can minimise the adverse consequences caused by falls. However, a limitation in the existing fall detection research is that the fall indicators were predetermined without any theoretical and experimental basis. This study aimed to determine the optimal fall indicators for fall detection research by experimentally examining a comprehensive set of kinematic measures. The body kinematic measures were compared among normal walking, successful recovery after slips and slip-induced falls. We identified the kinematic measures that differ between falls and the selected non-fall activities (i.e. successful recovery and normal walking), especially at the early stage of loss-of-balance due to slips. Findings obtained from this study can enhance the understanding of kinematic differences between slip-induced falls and non-fall activities, and such knowledge is particularly useful for developing fall detection models.

Practitioner Summary: Slips have been reported to be a major cause of accidental falls. Findings from this study can help determine the kinematic measures that can effectively and efficiently differentiate slip-induced falls from successful recovery and normal walking. Such knowledge can help develop effective strategies to prevent slip-induced falls.
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Keywords: balance recovery; fall detection; falls; kinematics; slips

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Human Factors and Ergonomics, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Blk N3, North Spine, Nanyang Avenue Singapore, 639798, Singapore

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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