Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Raymond Hill (Committee Member), Richard Laughlin (Committee Member), Raul Ordonez (Committee Member), Chandler Phillips (Committee Member), David Reynolds (Advisor), Blair Rowley (Advisor)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Falls account for almost two million emergency department visits per year in the U.S. and are the leading cause of injury deaths among adults 65 years of age and older. Despite efforts to reduce fall risk factors, about one-third of community-dwelling older adults fall each year in the U.S. New methods and devices are needed to prevent falls and to reduce morbidity and mortality related to falls. Presently, it is unknown if there is a measurable change in sway before a person falls. In order to find out, a wireless data acquisition system was developed as no existing tools were available. A fall was induced to allow the study of pre-fall motion on a healthy subject. The sensor was positioned at the level of the hips, upper torso, shoulder, and head. The data collected showed a measureable change in postural motion. The results indicated that there are four distinguishable levels of postural stability, which are baseline, near-fall, pre-fall, and fall. Also, the hip level is the optimal sensor location based on the results of this pilot study. This research serves as a basis for further work in postural sway and interventions to prevent falls.

Page Count


Department or Program

Ph.D. in Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Engineering Commons