Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 19, Issue 3–4, pp 649–666 | Cite as

The role of ICT in addressing the challenges of age-related falls: a research agenda based on a systematic mapping of the literature

  • Babak A. FarshchianEmail author
  • Yngve Dahl
Original Article


Fall risk and fall-related injuries increase with age. With an aging population, we need to have a better understanding of what solutions can help us cope with age-related falls. Ambient and ubiquitous fall technologies engage a large research community. We wanted to map research that has been done, technology that is developed and/or applied, current major research topics, and the current knowledge gaps. We employed the systematic mapping study approach. We searched systematically for available literature where modern ICT was developed or applied. A total of 1017 relevant abstracts were analyzed based on a number of criteria such as type of intervention (e.g., fall detection), type of technology (e.g., accelerometers), type of research contributions (e.g., proof of concepts, field trial results), focus of the solution (e.g., accuracy, privacy) etc. Our findings show that existing research is largely in a proof-of-concept phase. A large variety of technology is used. Component requirements are in focus, while system requirements related to real-world deployment are seldom addressed. The focus is on monitoring and data collection, while systems for empowering users are less frequent. Fall detection is by far the largest intervention type, while preventive interventions are less frequent. We have four recommendations based on our findings: (1) more research is needed to develop ICT-based preventive and corrective interventions; (2) more research is needed to develop ICT for empowering users; (3) more research is needed to integrate component technologies into future deployable service models; and (4) more research is needed to evaluate solutions in real-world settings.


Age-related falls Seniors Independent living Ubiquitous computing Pervasive computing Systematic mapping study Literature survey 



This research is supported partly by the EU FP7 projects FARSEEING (Grant Agreement No. 288940), OPTET (Grant Agreement No. 317631) and by the Norwegian National Research Council funded project ADAPT. We thank the editors of the special issue and the anonymous reviewers for useful comments to earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SINTEF ICTTrondheimNorway

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