The Wolk Hip Airbag is a smart device that aims to prevent hip fractures and other injuries in the case of a fall. Designed for the healthcare market, in particular elderly people living alone or in nursing homes.
How Work Hip Airbag worksThere are 1.5 million elderly per year worldwide who suffer from a hip fracture. 1 out of 3 dies within the following year. 50% never re-attains the pre-fracture level of mobility. And the average costs of a hip fracture are over $40.000. This is where Wolk comes in. Wolk Hip Airbag is a smart, ergonomic and invisible belt that the elderly can wear underneath their clothing. Six motion sensors in the belt register every movement 500 times per second. The software processes all the data and determines continuously whether the user might be falling. When the advanced algorithm recognizes a fall, the belt will inflate and protect the hip against injury, such as a hip fracture. The belt is available in four sizes, switches on automatically when worn, is machine washable and CE certified as protective equipment. In addition to protecting the hip, Wolk provides more freedom of movement and encourages frail elderly to live longer and safely at home.
Development of Wolk Hop AirbagAfter five years of development, Wolk introduced the hip airbag to market in April 2018. Two years later, the Wolk PRO model was launched with new features, such as GPS, a real-time dashboard, and built-in alarm to alert caregivers in case of an emergency (e.g. a fall). While the technology is ready for the market, the design needed improvement in terms of acceptability, durability, and cost efficiency. The objective of this project was to create a new version of the Wolk Hip Airbag sleeve - a redesign that would reduce costs and improve durability, comfort, and user-friendliness. To achieve this, a list of requirements was made with input from existing customers. An important requirement was to create a piece of clothing that people already knew. Based on that input, a total of four new prototypes were produced and a material study was done to investigate new high-quality textiles for the prototypes, specifically aimed at higher comfort and durability. Using those materials, new prototypes were made, after which existing customers and potential users were interviewed to provide feedback on the models. Finally, one model was chosen for the next step: finalizing the design and starting production of a 0-series of 200 products. The first 200 models in four sizes (S/M/L/XL) are ready to be introduced to market in September 2021.
Meet the teamThe device is developed by a single SME from the Netherlands. Check out their website, Wolk Hip Airbag, and connect with Wolk's founder in our member community (login required).