Sub-Project E:  Active Hip Protectors

Research team: Siamak Arzanpour (co-leader), Stephen Robinovitch (co-leader), Andrew Laing (co-leader)

The aim of this Sub-project is to develop “next-generation” hip protectors that overcome current barriers to the uptake and biomechanical effectiveness of this intervention.  The Sub-project addresses 3 objectives: Creation of a Hip Protector Status Monitor, Design of an Inflatable Hip Protector, and Determining factors contributing to Hip Protector Usability. 

To address the first objective, we plan to develop sensors that can be integrated into currently available hip protectors to provide information on: (a) user compliance in wearing the device, (b) the occurrence and severity of impact to the protector, and (c) positioning of the device. Our approach in developing these systems will range from the basic (e.g., pressure sensitive film or an array of ink-filled plastic bubbles that explode on impact), to advanced systems developed in Dr. Leung’s SFU laboratory.  The second objective is achieved by advanced developments that include creation of an inflatable hip protector that deploys after fall initiation is detected by the wearable fall event sensors being developed under another Sub-project. Through experiments with our hip impact simulator, we will refine design features of the protector to reduce the force delivered to the bone, therefore reducing the risk for injury. Furthermore, it will involve the evaluation of how variables such as airbag thickness, surface geometry, inflation pressure, supply network geometry, and timing of deployment influence the force attenuation provided by the device. Lastly, the third objective is addressed through studies that will involve determining how design features of hip protectors (such as protective ability, cost, comfort, appearance, ease of donning on or off, and maintenance) influence the compliance (acceptance of, and adherence to) the device.