A collaboration between The CORE Institute, Arizona’s most respected orthopedic practice, and The Arizona WearTech Center, an applied research center accelerating the development of emerging technology products, is advancing the science of fall prevention with the development of a new smartphone application, the Lockhart Monitor. The technology is proven to accurately detect falls in older adults and researchers are in the process of validating the technology for clinical use for wider demographic.
“The AZ WearTech Center brought Dr. Lockhart and the MORE Foundation together to create this technology that can now be commercialized,” said Wes Gullett, Director of Operations at the AZ WearTech Center. “A great thing about working with a large orthopedic practice like The CORE Institute is that they can put innovations into practice very quickly so we can accelerate that economic opportunity and growth.”
Dr. Thurmon Lockhart, the project’s principal investigator, has researched the science of falling for over 20 years. When he joined ASU in 2014 as a professor of biomechanics, his work quickly caught the attention of the Musculoskeletal Orthopedic Research and Education (MORE) Foundation, the research and philanthropic arm of The CORE Institute. Advancements in Lockhart’s research accelerated after his project was selected by AZ WearTech as one of its inaugural projects to support through the research validation and commercialization phases.
“The CORE Institute is taking an innovative approach to orthopedic treatments by thinking of ways to keep people out of their hospitals and finding ways to prevent fall-related injuries,” said Marc Jacofsky, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at The CORE Institute and HOPCo, and Executive Director of the MORE Foundation. “The CORE Institute is thrilled to partner with Dr. Lockhart and give him access to our orthopedic patients. AZ WearTech has allowed this program to develop and be successful and without their support, we wouldn’t be able to clinically validate this technology.”
The Lockhart Monitor app works with a smartphone’s internal accelerometer and gyroscope to gather data on a person’s walking speed and step length. This data sets a baseline for the person’s gait, posture, and stability and when a person’s movement suggests instability, the technology sends out a fall risk alert to help fall prevention.
“The most exciting part of this process is seeing my dream come to life. My dad was a ‘frequent faller,’ so the Lockhart Monitor is for him,” said Thurmon Lockhart PhD, CPE, MORE Foundation Professor of Life in Motion, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. “This technology is live-saving. For older adults, after the first fall their chances of death increase, so predicting the first fall is key. I’m grateful to The CORE Institute and AZ WearTech for making this technology a reality.”