ASU professor develops app that can predict falling

Thurmon Lockhart is a professor at ASU’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and he’s created an app that monitors the way a person moves to determine the risk of that person falling. We spoke to Thurmon Lockhart about the new device, which is called, “the Lockhart Monitor.”

The Lockhart Monitor was first created for Lockhart’s father, a WWII veteran, and as he got older he would fall down a lot, Lockhart said.

“What I wanted to do with this app was give it to my dad and every morning just stand there and measure his gait speed and how he’s standing in terms of balancing himself and then he could just send it to me, at the time he was in Texas and I was in Virginia and I was able to see directly within a minute or two how he was doing,” Lockhart said.

Some days his dad would be fine, others he would wake up with vertigo, he would make sure his bad days were measured to prevent a falling accident.

This app measures baseline walking speed and stabilization of how people walk, and if the baseline changes a warning is issued. Lockhart said it is most helpful for the phone to be on constantly on so a daily motion pattern is established. The app can also be downloaded on I-watches.

The movement or lack thereof measured can also be used to help measure depression.

“The mobility pattern has a significant signature associated with the frailty as well as some type of symptoms related to dissonance, vertigo or even depression as well as head injuries,” Lockhart said.

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Thurmon Lockhart, ASU school of biological and health systems engineering

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