OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more


FALL-IE employ sensors on the hospital bed to detect an intention of leaving the bed and predict patient's condition using motion and sound.

Photo of Yeow Kee Tan
2 3

Written by

Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

More than 100,000 falls occurred in healthcare institutes and 85% patients fell in their own room, cost over $5 billion hospital bills per year. To prevent fall, FALL-IE can detect bed-exit event before the patient leaves the bed. Through such early warning system, this provides caregivers an early head-start to provide the necessary assistance to the patient. Sound and motion data collected by FALL-IE can be used to predict patient's condition. Light will be shone on floor to prevent fall.

FALL-IE is a system that employs passive infra-red motion sensors. Through the synchronization of the motion pattern, FALL-IE can detect a bed-exit intention before the patient leaves the bed. Through such early warning system, this provides caregivers an early head-start to provide the necessary assistance to the patient, thus preventing falls. 

To further prevent fall, FALL-IE shines a light on the floor – better visibility reduces the chance of fall as various research have shown. FALL-IE also activate or deactivate the bed exit system automatically, this reduces false alarm and the operation overhead by over 90%. Sound and motion data collected by FALL-IE can be used to predict sleep quality for doctors and therapist to evaluate the condition of the patient. 

Our competitor analysis shows that the alternatives are the panic button, smart hospital bed, and mat-sensor that are either placed on the bed or the floor. Mat sensor has high false alarm rate, faces wear and tear and causes alert fatigue to the nursing staff. The mat sensor placed on the bed is also uncomfortable to sleep on. The call-bell or panic button method require the patient/seniors to physically press the button, which most cases the patient/residence will not do so for whatever reason(s). Smart hospital bed capable of detecting bed-exit is based on the pressure sensor and measuring the weight. However, such smart hospital bed is expensive – a burden for the target customers. These smart hospital bed also faced false alarms that lead to alert fatigue.

FALL-IE achieve social impact by improving senior’s dignity and quality-of-life as the sensors do not stigmatize the seniors. FALL-IE also improves the working conditions of nurses and reduces operation overheads. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

To involve the community to further refine the design and co-develop FALL-IE hardware and user interface design to manage the operating procedure that involves receiving the alert. Next, to invite nurses, healthcare institute management, family members from different region to review the feasibility of the product through an online video demonstration. Various qualitative and quantitative analysis will be employed to get input from the stakeholders - online/offline questionnaire and interview.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

To participate and providing advice in refining the design of FALL-IE hardware, user interface, and operations to prepare a minimum viable product in video form. Assistance required: i) Design FALL-IE to conform to standards, easy-to-install, ease-of-operation, and user need on the hardware and software. Skills required: industrial design & UI/UX design. ii) Minimum viable product video production for the lightweight experiment.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

Worked as a researcher at Institute for Infocomm Research for 12 years. Experience in speech processing, robotics, and intelligent sensors. Employed lean startup to validate the idea of SoundEye ARK, an emergency monitoring sensor that was meant to monitor senior living home.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Yeow!

Thank you for introducing us to Fall-IE.

Would you say this is a 'most promising' or 'most viable' idea - ?

Could this be used to retrofit beds in the home?

I am interested to know if there is a connection to Luna Lights ?

Photo of Yeow Kee Tan

Dear Kate,

1) FALL-IE is still a prototype, which we did a minimum viable product to test out the sensors and our method. In our deployment to a nursing home for night shift monitoring, we are able to achieve very low false alert rate. Coming back to your question, I would say "most viable" idea at this stage.

2) Yes, it can be retrofit to beds in the home as all beds have similar design features in terms of bed-frame.

3) There is no connection between FALL-IE and Luna Lights. We previously deployed one motion sensor (similar to a motion sensor on the ceiling) to oversee six to eight beds in the senior nursing home. The motion sensors are working very well. However, as there will be nurses patrolling the ward, this will trigger an alert as the sensor is unable to differentiate between the seniors and staff. Hence we tried out FALL-IE (motion + scream) and we achieve a better result. Our ideas have gone through real-world deployment and we do have inputs from different stakeholders.