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Personal Airbags for the Elderly

  • Published: 2008-09-24 (Revised/Updated 2011-08-27) : Disabled World.
  • Synopsis: A Japanese company has made an airbag designed to stop elderly people injuring themselves by falling over.

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A Japanese company has made an airbag designed to stop elderly people injuring themselves by falling over.

A Japanese company has made an airbag designed to stop elderly people injuring themselves by falling over.

Tokyo based Japanese company, Prop, has unveiled a wearable airbag at a fair of products for the elderly and people with disabilities that pops out if they were to suffer a fall.

The president of Prop, Mitsuya Uchida, says it is aimed especially at the elderly and people with epilepsy, who are very vulnerable to injury from falls.

Elderly people are more prone to injury when they fall due to brittle bones from conditions such as osteoporosis.

Across Japan, some of the country's most technologically advanced companies have been re-tooling themselves for the aging population. According to the Japanese Government, people aged 65 or older accounted for 21.5 per cent of the total population of Japan with 127 million currently being over the age of 65 and more than 36,000 people aged over 100. Japan today has one of the world's highest life expectancy rates, which is attributed to a traditional healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, rice, and fish.

The 1.1 kilogram, or 2.4 pound, airbag looks a bit like a traveler's waist pouch but will inflate in around one-tenth of a second when the sensors detect the wearer has fallen.

Sensors mounted on the pouch detect movement and have been programmed to know when things have gone wrong - a slip on something wet, a stumble on an uneven paving stone or a full-blown fall from a flight of stairs.

The product is designed to cushion a fall using two separate pockets, or bags, of air by protecting the back of the head and the buttocks with inflated bags that contain around 15 liters (3.9 gallons) of gas in each.

The personal airbag device currently retails for 148,000 yen (1,400 dollars).

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