Falls are a particularly scary problem for elderly people; they can result in injuries that take months to heal. One statistic states that one in three people aged 65 or older in the US has experienced injuries from falls, and the percentage only goes up as people age. Many elderly people are embarrassed to use assistive devices like canes or walkers.
Israeli start-up company B-Shoe Technologies has developed a fantastically helpful new shoe technology that would keep seniors from falling. The B-Shoe (or Balancing Shoe) contains sensors and a small motorized mechanism in its bottom. When the sensors detect that the wearer is becoming unbalanced, it subtly shifts the foot backwards so the wearer remains upright. The shoes look just like regular shoes so there is none of the stigma associated with canes or walkers.
According to the company, the movement is so gentle that it is barely perceptible to the wearer. The corrective action takes place quickly – much quicker than the often-slowed reflexes of the elderly – to prevent a fall. Test subjects have said that the movement is not startling and does help to prevent falls. The B-Shoe has been in development since 2008, and if the company’s crowdfunding campaign is successful they may have the shoe on the market by 2016.