-they never fall-
CENTIPEDE is a different approach to fall prevention. Older people know that one day they will slip and fall. Most live in fear of this, because they have seen the results of their friends falling. Tragically, every second of the day in the states an older adult falls, this is the number one cause of injury and death for older people.
CENTIPEDE can mitigate and stop falls for this endangered group. CENTIPEDE is an active fall-prevention device and the concept is simple. Anyone who has observed a centipede knows the secret to their mobility is redundancy of legs. A centipede with only two or even four legs couldn't make it far.
A little known linear actuator sometimes referred to as a STEMs (Slit Tube Extendable Members) actuator has the ability to help control or stop a fall. The STEMs are coiled metal or plastic strips that can deploy 10' or more, a tape measure is an example of this style of mechanism. There are many styles of STEMs actuators. The relevant design consideration of the CENTIPEDE device is redundancy.
STEMs can be very compact and easily worn on a harness or belt. To handle the weight needed to prevent the fall multiple STEMs would have to deploy quickly. There is a body of research available that can detect the moment a person starts to slip or lose his balance. These sensors and controllers are becoming abundant in systems such as the exoskeletons available on the open market today.
The CENTIPEDE would respond to the environment by analyzing the user's profile and gait. On steps, the CENTIPEDE would respond to a fall differently than the same fall on level ground. In many cases, the CENTIPEDE would deploy some STEMs to shift or rotate the falling person in order to control the fall and accomplish a final outcome with the person in a sitting position.