Student’s fall-detecting gadget could help elderly and save the NHS cash

Hassan Zaidi with the Tumble Alert   Picture: Malcolm Wells (180308-9892)
Hassan Zaidi with the Tumble Alert Picture: Malcolm Wells (180308-9892)
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A CITY student has invented a pioneering personal alarm gadget that notifies loved ones and emergency services when someone has had a fall.

Hassan Zaidi, a computing student at the University of Portsmouth, came up with the idea after feeling powerless when his mother suffered a number of heart attacks at home.

He will now present his gadget – called Tumble Alert – to the Cabinet Office next month in a bid to win about £5,000 in funding for his invention to get the go-ahead.

The system comprises two components – a necklace and a satellite device which acts as a charging port and a receiver.

Together, the pair unite in situ to detect a fall by monitoring any sudden shifts in the wearer’s altitude or movement speed.

After calculating the severity of these measurements, the device can then contact carers, loved ones and emergency services with the wearer’s exact location.

Reflecting on what inspired him to design the alarm, Hassan, 28, said: ‘My mother has suffered several heart attacks and the last time it was only by luck I was there at home and found her on the floor.

‘It terrified me, the thought that something can happen to someone you love and not being around.

‘I kept thinking “what if I hadn’t been there, what if she was alone?”.

‘This cannot be the way things go, this needs to change.

‘The main driving force behind developing Tumble Alert was that no-one should be left alone on the floor hoping someone might come, they should be reassured that someone will definitely come and help them.’

Age UK estimates up to one in three people aged 65 or older will fall each year.

If he seals investment to make his dream product a reality, Hassan hopes to cut into this figure – taking a partial strain off medical professionals.

He said: ‘An investment into this product is an investment into the wellness of people liable to a fall, as well as other older people who live alone.

‘Dealing with people who have fallen costs the NHS about £2.5bn every year.

‘If this device comes to fruition, hopefully it can help reduce that figure – not just through detection, but also analysis and prevention.’

Not only is the Tumble Alert able to send out a notification of a fall, it can also be used to measure detailed background statstics of its wearer’s movement and activity around the home.

This, Hassan said, gives the product a unique industry ‘edge’ against existing technology – with hopes it could one day help organisations working with older people detect falls in the first place.

But if the Tumble Alert does not secure Hassan vital funding, he says he will continue to fight.

He said: ‘I would be amazed and slightly crushed if the Cabinet Office don’t pick it up.

‘But either way, I am determined to make the Tumble Alert real.’

The aim is to have it in care homes later this year.’