SecuraTrac’s Long Lasting mPERS
There are quite a few wearable products out there designed to help seniors get help in an emergency. And the concept goes back a long way! Who can forget those “I’ve fallen down and can’t get up” commercials? Today, technology for emergency communication is evolving quickly. One new example is the MobileDefender Model S from SecuraTrac. It weighs about two ounces and is a little bigger than a key fob. So what’s new and different? CEO Chris Holbert says that, while it has the standard SOS button, it has several important additions:
“One is a fall advisory service. So the person, whether they’re a lone worker in an oil and gas environment or a senior in a healthcare situation, if they were to fall and remain motionless for a period of time after that, there would be an automatic call to the emergency response center. So there’s no need to push the SOS button.”
We asked SecuraTrac a bit about the technology that goes into falls detection. “The Fall Advisory notifications occur automatically (there is a period where the person carrying the device can deactivate the alarm by simply pushing the SOS button in the case of a false positive). The Fall is determined based on 3 variables all being true: 1) Impact of the fall event exceeds the threshold (measured in G-force), 2) change in angle (start and end angle) exceeds the threshold (a change of 40+ degrees as an example) and 3) the lack of motion after both of the first 2 conditions are met for a specified number of seconds (4 seconds as an example).”
Another improvement in the latest device is a long battery life. The device can be set to wake up only when the SOS button is pushed, enabling it to work for more than thirty days on a single charge. Typically, these kinds of pendants need to be plugged in every two or three days. Holbert tells us that with a future firmware update, the Model S MobileDefender will also be able to wake up from that battery-conserving mode in the event of a fall without the need for a button press.
Also new, an add on tiny pendant weighing only half an ounce with an SOS button that is waterproof. How important is that, you may ask? Think of the number of falls that take place in the shower or bath.
SecuraTrac is also planning firmware updates designed to address issues related to memory impairment or Alzheimer’s disease: “For example, we can disable the power on and off button over the air. So we can just say these devices no longer have the ability to power off with a button. What we find, because people who have memory impairment, especially in the Alzheimer’s community, have a sort of action-response pre-disposition. So when you push the power off button, it vibrates to let you know it has received the power off indication. So when they push the power off, they don’t know what they are doing necessarily, but they know that it vibrates. So they will do that over and over and over again,” says Holbert.
The ability to disable the power off button may sound simple, but can be a lifesaving feature. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America estimates that more than five million Americans may suffer from the disease. And that has an impact on many millions more loved ones and caregivers.
The MobileDefender devices also feature mobile connectivity without the need to connect to a phone. That lets them work indoors or out and enables tracking via GPS or through the use of mobile signals. The system is 3G-capable so a customer can use it indoors, outdoors, or in any of 120 different countries.
SecuraTrac sees the MobileDefender as being useful not only for seniors, but also for workers who are often on their own such as long haul truckers, field service representatives, or oil and gas field workers. The device is available through a variety of health care providers and security companies. Bay Alarm Medical is among them, along with Rescue Alert and Wright Hennepin. Monthly fees typically range between $19 and $35, depending on the service options needed.