You might be interested in https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html
I am using a very low-tech version of your idea. I had a few surgical masks before Covid 19 broke, and I am reusing them in rotation, hoping that any viruses on them lose potency in a few days, as several sources have suggest. Hand-washing cloth masks in water with detergent, and then rinsing them out might also work, with perhaps the following is a good de-masking protocol. Put a bucket of water and detergent in a sink, tub, or shower before you leave the house with the mask, upon returning, lean close over the bucket and slip the mask into the water. The reason why this might work is that all all reports suggest the viruses are discharged from infected lungs in "respiratory droplets" that are larger and stickier than sub-micon individual viruses. "Might work" is may seem flimsy, but given the gross lack of planning by our public health sector (reportedly over the last three administrations) that is the best most of us can do for ourselves.
Robert: Sorry you didn't make the final cut. I was impressed by your ability to "switch gears" from a wall-mounted device to a portable cane, and your cold molding looked very professional. As a result of your approach to the challenge, I have been mindful the past two months when navigating steps and have made a few observations that might be of interest: 1) The human hand is an adept tool, if in good condition and exercised for grip strength; when cupped around a banister it can help prevent trips and falls. 2) Even better is two hands, cupped about opposing side banisters. 3) Probably even better is two banisters on each side, the second about 8 inches higher than normal--I have used such an arrangement a few times and, when descending, the higher banister allows the hand to be a little forward of the body and that should provide better "braking action" if a foot is placed so far forward that it misses the next step and your body begins to pitch forward. 4) A great guide to stair railing safety is offered at http://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Railing_Codes_Specifications.php 5) A lesson learned for aging bodies: Do grip-strengthening exercises, knee lifts, and partial squats to have the strength to safely traverse stairs.
Rob: This is an intriguing concept--early detection and alerts about potential hazards. But your presentation here on OpenIDEO and on your website does not give enough specifics about the sensors and the data analysis to convince me that you can actually pull it off. The judges of this Challenge might also be dubious unless you provide more details. I have heard several care managers and occupational therapists advise older people with mild physical impairments to do the following to minimize the risk of falls: 1) Exercise regularly; 2) Install grab bars in the bathroom and use them when getting in/out of the bath/shower and on/off the toilet; 3) Have more night-lighting on paths traversed in middle of the night than sufficient during younger years; 4) If you need a walker, use it everywhere except where you can steady yourself with grab bars; 5) Tighten up or replace rickety chairs and stools; 6) Stow away throw rugs; 7) Don't leave stuff on the floor where you might trip on it; 8) Limit alcohol consumption to a two ounces per day per 100 pounds of body weight, and sip it slowly while consuming food. To that list, I would add don't turn around quickly, avoid low blood pressure, and don't use stairs in the middle of the night. Can your system monitor several of these? The fact that accommodations have been made for some of these things, doesn't mean that they are retained. I have watched couples agree to have their throw rugs and rickety furniture stored away, only to have them a later retrieve and replace them. If you can make the system work at a cost that is affordable to many, I can see it becoming a breakthrough in fall avoidance. That is because one of the major causes of falls by older people is their denial of slowly lost strength, balance, and visual accuity, but often are in denial of that, and your system could provide them with objective early warning feedback that supplements observations of family members and physicians. So I hope that you use the Refinement period to provide more details about how your system would work.