A reliable fall detection device is crucial to minimize long-term consequences of falls among wheelchair users. This study examines the sensitivity of Apple Watch to detect intentional falls from a wheelchair. Twenty-five able bodied (age: 21.9 ± 2.5 years) participated in a protocol in which they intentionally fell out of a wheelchair in a laboratory setting. Each participant wore an Apple Watch Series 5 and performed 3 falls in the forward, right and left sideways, and backward directions onto a crash pad totaling 12 falls each. The Apple Watch was manually checked after each fall to determine if the device registered a fall. From 300 fall trials captured, the Apple Watch detected 14 falls showing a sensitivity of 4.7%, a false negative rate of 95.3%. Logistic regression showed that participant’s height, impact force, lower limb functioning, and fall direction are parameters that may influence the ability of the Apple Watch to detect falls from a wheelchair. The Apple Watch fall detection feature presented with a very poor sensitivity to detect intentional falls from a wheelchair among able bodied young adults. Due to the high incidence and consequences of falls, a reliable fall detection device specific for wheelchair users is warranted.
- Apple Watch
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation