In a Nutshell
- Users don’t have to wear bracelets or carry equipment
- Camera-free technology for privacy and comfort
- Radio wave detection works even when the room is dark
- Only available for bathrooms
- Some might prefer medical assistance over caregiver alerts
- Patients incapable of using wearable or push-button devices
- Those whose caregivers are readily available by phone
The HOME Fall Detector differs from other alert devices in that it alerts the user’s caregiver (or whoever they designated as their emergency contact), rather than a call center or medical assistance service. Immediately following a fall, a 2-way call is placed to the chosen caretaker via speakerphone. The caregiver also receives a text message alerting them of the accident. This 2-step alert process assures that they are immediately informed even in the event that the client is unconscious. In non-emergencies, users can alert their caregivers manually through the console or by simply laying on the floor and activating the sensors.
While some may prefer the traditional call-center alert system, HOME’s approach, which alerts the caregiver or relative of the user’s choice, is advantageous for certain types of users. It could save money on ambulance costs and other medical expenses that are automatically set into motion when medical care is dispatched. Of course this depends on the nature of the client’s needs and habits. If they suffer from mobility issues, for example, and their falls are more the result of balance than serious health matters, a caregiver-first approach could help save on medical costs by letting them first assess the severity of the situation. Some clients also prefer the intimacy of caregivers checking on them rather than strangers. Of course, HOME’s caregiver-first approach means that it’s essential to have a contact who’s reliable, available, and relatively tech-friendly.
Walabot’s HOME is deceptively simple-looking—a lightweight, 7 x 7-inch minimalist-white console with a touchscreen in the center. Roughly the size of a large smoke detector, and light enough to be mounted to the wall via adhesive strips (included in the box), the console connects to a regular wall outlet through the AC power adapter.
All functions are performed through the touchscreen. Once the system is connected, the sensors begin ‘learning’ the dimensions of the room via radio signals. No bracelets, pendants, or wearables are required, leaving the system to act on its own, virtually undetected by the user. The console includes speakers for the 2-way conversations, and the screen, which displays the time and status. A single button beside the screen can be used to make manual calls.
The real complexities are happening inside HOME’s console. Created by Vayyar, a cutting-edge 3D imaging sensor company, it uses low-frequency radio signals to learn not only the dimensions of the room, but the varying body positions of its users, which is how it detects falls and accidents. In essence, the motion-sensing technology is doing 2 things at once—reading the space itself, as well as the movements of the person inside it. And unlike cameras, the radio waves allow the sensors to detect movement in any lighting condition. HOME also lets caregivers remotely check that their clients’ devices are enabled. The company plans to roll out a series of upgrades in the near future, including a Round Robin calling feature that can call and text multiple contacts in the event that the first is unreachable.
Simply mount the console to the wall with the 4 included adhesive strips. The ideal height for the console is 5 feet from the floor. It should be near a power outlet and in the open—make sure it’s unobstructed by furniture or cabinets, and not above the bathtub or close to wet areas. Once plugged in, prompts appear on the touch screen to set up WiFi, pair emergency contact info, and set the perimeter of the room. The emergency contact must pair their phone to the device using HOME’s free app, which is compatible with any Android or iOS phone.
Contract and Fees
HOME’s pricing is as straightforward as the device itself. The console costs $149.99 to purchase, and $4.99/month for service. A free 30-day trial means monthly billing begins one month after purchase. There is no contract required, and customers can cancel at anytime through the website. HOME’s device comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 6-month warranty.
Walabot’s HOME medical alert service offers an innovative approach to fall detection. By using advanced smart technology that “learns” the dimensions of a bathroom, as well as the movement patterns of the user, it takes the onus off of the client to activate an alert notice after a fall. HOME automatically detects the incident and notifies the caregiver via a 2-way call.
Since alerts go directly to the caregiver and not a call center, HOME is best for those who have a reliable caregiver on hand, and ideal for users who suffer from mobility issues but dislike having to wear bracelets, pendants, or other manual devices. The device itself is easy to use and install, and once it’s set up, it virtually operates on its own with no further action from its user.
Walabot is an award-winning company that’s been featured in publications such as Popular Mechanics and Fast Company for its cutting-edge technology. Utilizing 3D imaging technology, it’s created breakthrough devices for the robotics, construction, and medical industries. Walabot’s products include emergency fall detection sensors and 3D wall scanners.