Launch Pad: Wearable Airbags To Prevent Broken Hips, And Death

The #1 fear of older adults is falling and breaking their hips.

The #2 fear is dying, in case you were wondering. Which is what happens, all too often, after a bad fall.

So Drew Lakatos, founder of ActiveProtective, tells Karl Ulrich in this thoughtful interview. ActiveProtective, Drew explains, is “a smart belt that can determine human falls really accurately. And we are deploying air bags around the hips so older adults don’t break their hips.”

This is hugely important because older adults are right to be afraid of falling. According to Drew, hip fractures kill more people in the US annually than breast cancer and car accidents combined: a whopping 75,000.

Of the 45 million people over the age of 65 in the US, 7 million are identified as high fall risk—and it’s these individuals who are the first market for ActiveProtective.

The idea for ActiveProtective came from co-founder Dr. Robert Buckman, a highly respected trauma surgeon who shared his idea for the belt with serial entrepreneur Drew back in 2005. However, it took seven years for the technology—motion sensors, cold gas inflator airbags, and more—to catch up and make the idea practical. Then in late 2012, Drew quit his job, and went all in on ActiveProtective. Since then, they’ve raise nearly $6 million, and are about to begin pilots at “one of the largest providers of skilled nursing in the United States.”

Listen to Drew and Karl talk about the long process of validating this idea, the intense research, both medical and business, that went into it, and how Drew went about raising the necessary funds to turn ActiveProtective into a reality.