Motion capture technology could help prevent patient falls

Infrared motion capture technology, commonly used in video games, can help detect falls and improve care after a fall, according to a University of Missouri study.

Researchers installed a motion capture device into six patient hospital rooms and collected continuous data for 24 hours daily. The system sends a grid pattern of infrared light into the patient’s room, and analyzes how objects, people and movements distort that pattern. The device uses the distortions to create a 3-D map of everything in the room and can detect if and why a fall has occurred.

Marilyn Rantz, PhD, RN, professor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the department of family and community medicine at the MU School of Medicine said she believes this technology is promising because it accurately identified falls.

“Technology that quickly detects falls and alerts health professionals can improve patient care and help in the diagnosis of injuries,” Rantz said. “Technology that captures data on patient falls can help health professionals learn about risk factors for falls, which could help create more effective ways of preventing them,” she stated in a press release. “We are now in the process of installing the sensors in more patient rooms to learn more about its effectiveness.”

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