Student invents best-yet personal fall alert device
A Portsmouth student inspired by the worry of seeing his mother fall over when she was unwell has invented a gadget thought to be the most advanced personal alarm ever.
Hassan Zaidi, a computing student at the University of Portsmouth, has now been asked to present his ingenious gadget to the Cabinet Office next month.
If they like what they see, his device could win funding and support.
Hassan is now hoping people with an elderly relative or those who are susceptible to falls will help him win over the Cabinet Office by proving proof of concept.
He said: "The Cabinet Office need to know for sure that people want sophisticated personal alarms, that they'd choose one for themselves or for someone in their family. I am hoping lots of people will say they agree it's a good idea."
Called Tumble Alert, the alarm is sophisticated enough to give elderly people who live alone and who are the most susceptible to falls reassurance that if the worst happens, someone will be on their way to help.
Hassan said: "Falling over shouldn't take away anyone's freedom, but research has shown time and again that it steals people's confidence and makes many decide to give up their independence.
"The main driving force behind developing Tumble Alert was that no one should be left alone on the floor hoping someone might come, they should be reassured that someone will definitely come and help them."
Hassan's presented his device at the Care Innovation Challenge competition which saw him selected from a highly competitive first round to be able to go forward to present to the Cabinet Office.
Talking about what inspired him to design the alarm, he said: "My mother has suffered several heart attacks, and the last time it was only by luck I was there at home and found her on the floor. It terrified me, the thought that something can happen to someone you love and not being around. I kept thinking what if I hadn't been there, what if she was alone.
"Shortly after, an elderly family friend fell in her kitchen and she lay on the floor for two hours until her husband came home.
"This cannot be the way things go, this needs to change."
He said existing personal alarms were 'old technology' and don't use many of the advances in electronics and computing.
His system is a necklace and satellite device which together detect a fall, calculate how severe it is and, if needed, automatically contact carers or loved ones and emergency services with the person's precise location.
Age UK estimate up to one in three people aged 65 or older will fall a year, costing the NHS an estimated £4.6m a day.