PeerWell adds AR fall prevention feature to platform

By Jonah Comstock
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San Francisco-based PeerWell has added an augmented reality feature to its app, which helps post-surgical patients manage their recovery. The tool, called PeerWell's Trip and Fall Hazard Detector, uses the phone's camera to analyze a user's home environment and provide suggestions about how to minimize the risk of falls.

“Falling is a top driver of injuries in older adults, and of special concern after a surgical procedure like a hip or knee replacement," Dr. Michael Mont, orthopedic surgeon, said in a statement. "Right now, we do not have any tools to help patients identify and remove trip and fall hazards in their homes besides costly home visits or confusing brochures. PeerWell’s interactive AR extension in a sense extends physicians’ reach to help patients properly set up their home and ensure the safety in recovery."

As seen in this demo, the app will point out hazards like cords, potentially loose rugs, and uneven floors in realtime as the user points the phone camera around the space. Then, after a tour of the space, the app will deliver an itemized list of hazards, with images. 

“Until now, augmented reality has mostly been used in gaming,” Manish Shah, CEO of PeerWell, said in a statement. “We’ve combined it with real-time image recognition powered by our AI to bring this life-saving tool to patients. This technology continues to put us years ahead of the industry. Most image recognition systems are trained using publicly available data sets. Here, there is no data set like this, so even the foundational data is proprietary.”

PeerWell offers two apps, PreHab, which helps patients prepare for surgery, and ReHab, which helps them recover. The apps break pre- and post-surgery activities into achievable 10-minute chunks. That includes physical therapy exercises, which the app can track using the phone's built-in motion sensors.