Better informing everyday fall risk assessment: Experimental studies with contemporary technologies

Jason Moore, Samuel Stuart, Peter McMeekin, Richard Walker, Alan Godfrey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Age-related mobility issues and frailty are a major public health concern because of an increased risk of falls. Subjective assessment of fall risk in the clinic is limited, failing to account for an individual's habitual activities in the home or community. Equally, objective mobility trackers for use in the home and community lack extrinsic (ie, environmental) data capture to comprehensively inform fall risk. We propose a contemporary approach that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and video glasses to augment current methods of fall risk assessment.

Two case studies were performed to provide a framework to assess extrinsic factors within fall risk assessment via video glasses. The first was AI-based detection of environment and terrain type. We developed convolutional neural networks (CNN) via a bespoke dataset (>145 000 images) captured from different settings (eg, offices, high streets) via free-licenced video on social media. AI automated a textual description to uphold privacy while describing the scene (eg, indoor and carpet). In the second case study, we provided video glasses to participants within a university campus (two men, 17 women; aged 21–60 years) to capture data for automatically labelling environment and objects (eg, fall hazards) via a CNN object detection algorithm. The case studies ran from Dec 5, 2022, to March 24, 2023.

To date, results show promise for the efficient, and accurate AI-based approach to better inform fall risk. Each component of the framework achieved at least 75% accuracy across a range of walks (indoor and outdoor and multiple terrains) from a dataset of 6283 new images. The AI achieved a mean average precision score of 0·93 for the identification of fall risk hazards.

The AI-based approach provides a contemporary means to better inform fall risk while providing an ethical means to uphold privacy. The proposed approach could have significant implications for improving overall health and quality of life, enabling ageing in place through habitual data collection with contemporary wearables to decentralise fall risk assessment. A limitation was the lack of data collection on older adults within real world, unscripted settings. However, the next phase of this research is the deployment of the AI on real-world data from a cohort of more than 40 participants within UK-based homes.

National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North-East and North Cumbria (NENC), Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S6
Number of pages1
JournalThe Lancet
Issue numberSupplement 1
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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