Prior to developing any specific fall detection algorithm, it is critical to distinguish the unique motion features associated with fall accidents. The current study aimed to investigate the upper trunk angular kinematics during slip-induced backward falls and activities of daily living (ADLs). Ten healthy older adults (age = 75 ± 6 yr (mean ± SD)) were involved in a laboratory study. Sagittal trunk angular kinematics were measured using optical motion analysis system during normal walking, slip-induced backward falls, lying down, bending over, and various types of sitting down (SN). Trunk angular phase-plane plots were generated to reveal the motion features of falls. It was found that backward falls were characterized by a simultaneous occurrence of a slight trunk extension and an extremely high trunk extension velocity (peak average = 139.7 deg/s), as compared to ADLs (peak average = 84.1 deg/s). It was concluded that the trunk extension angular kinematics of falls were clearly distinguishable from those of ADLs from the perspective of angular phase-plane plot. Such motion features can be utilized in future studies to develop a new prior-to-impact fall detection algorithm.

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