A fitness sensor that has been built into a number of smart garments that people use to monitor things such as heart rate during workouts, will soon also aid elderly people who are at a high risk of falling.
Sensoria, a maker of smart sports bras, shirts and socks, as well as a running app that syncs with those sensors in real time, announced plans this week to expand into healthcare through a partnership with Genesis, one of the world’s largest rehab/nursing home providers.
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Starting January 2018 through a new business division called Sensoria Health Powered by Genesis, Sensoria will deploy a fleet of sportswear, socks and shoes to nursing homes and rehab centers with body sensors that detect pressure points and balance in an effort predict and prevent falls. The technology will also assist with the rehabilitation process, with patient data generated from sensors allowing clinicians and nurses to monitor progress in real time.
Sensoria is the latest sports technology company that has expressed interest in expanding beyond fitness and into new fields such as healthcare, entertainment or retail, as part of efforts to scale the sports technology and fitness products they’ve developed.
Both Fitbit and Apple Watch have launched extensive healthcare programs alongside their fitness trackers; Fitbit through a partnership with UnitedHealthcare and Apple through Healthkit and Carekit.
STRIVR, which has built a virtual reality training program for NFL athletes and referees, recently expanded outside of sports with a training program for Walmart retail employees.
Sensoria says it’s expanding beyond sports and into healthcare to address a need, with falls being a leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. The number of Americans over the age of 65 is set to soar in coming decades.
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More than 30% of people aged 65 and older fall each year, which equates to roughly 800,000 patients per year hospitalized due to a fall injury, according to Sensoria data. An older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds, and dies from one every 19 minutes, according to U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Sensoria Health will be developing solutions that help improve aging people’s lives,” Sensoria co-founder and CEO Davide Vigano said in a statement. “We all recognize the need for smart wearable and telehealth solutions that are geared toward the elderly and see the healthcare vertical as very promising.”