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Walk with confidence.

The SAF-T VEST™ will provide 360-degree fall injury protection, from the hips to the head.

Watch our video

Jay A. Davenport, M.D. (second from left) demonstrates how the direction of a fall can increase the risk of certain kinds of injuries. The SAF-T VEST is designed to protect fracture prone areas of the body–from the hips to the head. Video produced by Jason Foucault.
Illustrations by Dan O’Leary

Breaking news
Next gen SAF-T VEST successfully deploys in test fall

Advanced wearable fall detection system deploys while fitted to a mannequin. Read more…

The problem of fall injuries

Note: Our wearable technology is in prototyping, and not yet available to the public.

An estimated three million people in the U.S. are rushed to hospitals each year due to devastating injuries from falls.1 Tens of thousands of these injuries result in life-changing consequences ranging from hip fractures to head injuries to death. At least 300,000 older people in the U.S. suffer hip fractures each year; more than 95% of these injuries are caused by falling. They are the #1 cause of traumatic brain injuries.2

In short, fall injuries are a $50 billion public health crisis.

The SAF-T VEST solution

Jay Davenport, M.D, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, designed a patented, wearable tech solution. It’s called the SAF-T VEST–a “smart” vest that will reduce the risk of serious injuries from falls.

The SAF-T VEST, shown with deployed airbags in various fall scenarios (clockwise from top left: sideways, forward, and backward) plus a top view). Illustrations by Danny O’Leary.

Most strategies to reduce injuries from falls focus on prevention. Dr. Davenport decided a different approach was needed: fall protection.

Tiny sensors will detect a fall in progress. Then, airbags inflate in less than a half-second to absorb the impact of the fall and reduce the risk of severe injury. The bags rapidly deflate to ensure a soft landing, like a deflating air mattress.

The airbag system is built into the vest, along with the sensors and a micro-computer. The vest will come in a variety colors, styles and thermal ratings for use in warm and moderate climates. We’ll have versions for sleeping too.

Proof of concept

As seen in the video below, this prototype deploys only one airbag, which is designed to offer protection in a forward fall. Our fully- developed SAF-T VEST will feature a network of airbags providing fall injury protection from the hips to the head, no matter which direction the user falls. However, the prototype demonstrates the most important functions of the future version.

Davenport SAF-T Systems collaborated with the School of Engineering at University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) to build a 1st gen working prototype.

Aging well at home

The SAF-T VEST comes in various styles suitable for warm and moderate climates.

According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), more than 90% of people aged 65 and over plan to stay in their homes as long as possible. So, what can we do to help extend our independent living? Experts say get up and get moving. The risks of falling increase as we age. Changes in vision, hearing and certain medications can affect balance. A bad fall can change a person’s quality of life in an instant. Consequences include expensive medical care, long-term rehabilitation and a permanent loss of independence. Many begin a path of physical decline.

However, regular exercise, including walking, can help reduce that risk. The SAF-T VEST lets you walk with confidence, providing the protection you need if you ever lose your balance.

The SAF-T VEST: a new idea using proven technology

By providing injury protection in a fall scenario, the SAF-T VEST helps seniors stay active.

Personal crash protection systems designed for high-speed sports like motorcycling and downhill skiing rely on similar components.This “smart” vest is a significant advance in fall protection. For decades, one of the few options was the AHIP protector–a bulky undergarment with padding for the hips. The Tango Belt, made in France, is equipped with sensors and deploys one airbag over each hip, leaving other areas exposed to injury.

According to AARP, more than 10,000 seniors turn 65 each day, a rate expected to continue into the 2030s. There are more than 53 million seniors in the U.S. Our target market includes clinicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities and seniors. Adult children of seniors represent an important secondary market.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 5, 2016.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Important Facts about Falls.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.