Walk with confidence.
The SAF-T VEST™ provides 360-degree fall injury protection, from the hips to the head.
The SAF-T VEST™. Designed to reduce the risk of devastating injuries from falls.
Note: Our wearable technology is in prototyping, and not yet available to the public.
The SAF-T VEST solution
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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.2
In short, fall injuries are a $50 billion public health crisis.
Jay Davenport, M.D, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, designed a patented, wearable tech solution. His start-up, Davenport SAF-T Systems, LLC, is developing the SAF-T VEST, a “smart” vest that will reduce the risk of serious injuries from falls.
Sneek a peek at our first generation prototype
Recently, Davenport SAF-T Systems unveiled its patented SAF-T VEST™ proof of concept and first-generation prototype at the Senior Design Show at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering. Learn more on our News page.
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. For example, it:
- Recognizes, with onboard motion sensors, when an imminent fall is about to happen.
- Inflates a customized airbag in less than a third of a second.
- Deflates the airbag rapidly to absorb the impact of the fall and provide a softer landing.
How it works
Most strategies to reduce injuries from falls focus on prevention. But results have been mixed. Dr. Davenport decided a different approach was needed: fall protection.
The SAF-T VEST detects a fall in progress, then deploys airbags in response. This comfortable, lightweight garment monitors the user’s center of gravity with tiny sensors. When the sensors detect an unrecoverable fall, airbags inflate in less than a half-second to absorb the impact, and reduce the risk of severe injury. The bags rapidly deflate to prevent a bounce-back effect, which can cause concussion. The rapid deflation gently lowers the user to the floor, like a deflating air mattress.
The airbag system is built into the vest, along with the sensors and a tiny computer. The vest comes in a variety colors, styles and thermal ratings for use in warm and moderate climates.
Growing old at home
“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz. It turns out America’s senior citizens agree.
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.
Watch the SAF-T VEST video
Injuries from falls are the most common and most costly type of non-fatal injury in seniors. They are also the number one cause of fatal injury.
Using today’s tech in a new way
The SAF-T VEST is a new idea that uses existing technology. 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.
- 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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Important Facts about Falls.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
The SAF-T VEST recognizes the difference between normal movement and unrecoverable falls. On-board sensors monitor the user’s center of gravity while moving or standing still. When a fall is detected, a microprocessor triggers a network of airbags to inflate, absorbing the impact of the fall and protecting the hips, pelvis, and upper extremities. Pressurized air from a small canister or a chemical reaction fills the airbags.
The science of fall detection
If we lose our balance, our natural instinct is to reach out to protect ourselves–but in older adults that can result in a broken wrist or elbow. The SAF-T VEST forms a “cocoon” around the user, which helps keep the arms down with elbows tucked to the side. An inflated, “donut” shaped airbag extends forward from the user’s midsection, beyond the reach of hands and wrists, to absorb impact from a forward fall. In a backward fall, airbags expand along the vest’s collar, shoulders and back, protecting the head, neck and spine. SAF-T VEST protects in all directions.
Walk with confidence
After suffering an injury from a fall, people often begin to limit their activities out of a fear of falling again. However, reducing activity can increase frailty and trigger a cycle of falls all over again. The SAF-T VEST helps the user avoid the physical decline associated with a fall injury. Dr. Davenport designed the SAF-T VEST so that seniors could remain active, confident—and independent.