Light system, shoe insert win falls prevention contest

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The Path Feel insole provides vibration feedback to the sole of the foot. (Open Ideo)
The Path Feel insole provides vibration feedback to the sole of the foot. (Open Ideo)

An automated light system and a shoe insert won top prizes at a recent event designed to find new ways to prevent falls among older adults.

Luna Lights and Path Feel were the winners of the four-month Fall Prevention Innovation Challenge sponsored by AARP Services and UnitedHealthcare, the organizations announced Wednesday.

Luna Lights, which won the Most Viable Solution award, is an automated light system that uses technology to sense when the user gets out of bed. The device, designed with assisted living residents in mind, then lights up a path to help users see and decrease the risk of a fall. The award comes with a $50,000 cash prize.

Path Feel, which won the Most Promising Idea award, is a shoe insert that gathers vibratory information to help older adults improve their balance. This helps users realize when their feet touch the ground, to decrease the likelihood of a fall. The award comes with a $25,000 cash prize.

The concepts will be developed further through four hours of mentorship that were awarded to contest winners. The winners also will have access to the AARP Services' iCare Research Panel for a research study with the caregiving panel.

“A fall can be traumatic for older adults and drastically affect their health and quality of life,” said Efrem Castillo, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “The connections and ideas generated during this challenge are paving the way for new innovations that have the potential to improve the health and well-being of millions of older adults.”

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