Projects, designs, and writings on health IT


Smart Watch Assistant for the Elderly

9:57 PM Posted by David Do, MD , No comments
Project for Penn Apps X Hackathon 9/12-9/14/2014

This project is open source

Dashboard (Web App):
Pebble Source Code (C):
Collaborators: Abhi S (Rice), Lily W (Rice), Jen C (UT), Yevgeniy G


We built a "Safety Alert" watch for the elderly. In addition to a "panic" button, however, we utilized the smart watch sensors and user interactions to track metrics that give doctors and caregivers more insight into the unseen. While there are plenty of health tracking devices and apps available, I wanted to target neglected metrics that are more relevant to clinical decision-making than, say, steps. 

For example:
  • falls
  • missed medications
  • hours of sleep
  • daily weights (for people with failure to thrive or heart failure)

The elderly often have falls at home due to poor vision, diminished sensation in the feet, and slow reaction time. These falls can go unnoticed but the number of falls an elderly person has at home can make them at higher or lower risk for intracranial bleeds, especially when taking a blood-thinning medication. 

Falls in the elderly are a huge cause of morbidity, costing $30 billion/yr. Falls lead to intracranial bleeds and broken bones. Hip fractures in particular have morbidity. One in five hip fracture patients over 65 die within 1 year of injury (

The Solution

A Smart Watch that detects falls, alerts family members, and gives a live view through a web dashboard. The dashboard highlights several key metrics for doctors. This watch is designed for users over age 65 who live alone or spend part of the day unsupervised. Additionally, family members can track the events in a dashboard.

Technologies Used

Pebble Watch, C, Ruby on Rails 4, Twilio API, Sendgrid API


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