Wolk Company is a The Hague-based startup that wants to contribute to elderly people’s mobility. That’s why they have been developing hip protection. It comes in the form of an airbag system that can be worn around the waist. After four years of development, they will bring their final design to market at the end of the year. We checked in with them to hear their latest.
“The elderly are more prone to falling,” Wolk Company’s Linda Van der Windt explains. “And once they fall, it tends to kickstart a variety of health problems. After a hip fracture, one in four elderly people pass away within the year.”
Dutch daily news program RTL Nieuws has picked up on the startling facts. “Each year, 118,000 people of sixty-five years and over experience a falling accident. This amounts to 13,700 hip fractures each year. The direct healthcare costs amount to 912 million Euros annually,” the news program reports.
Most of these falls happen at home. Sometimes brain injury results. More often, a fractured hip kicks off a series of health problems. “It may sound dramatic, but a fall can mark the beginning of the end. The end of mobility. The end of independence,” Wolk Company’s Linda stresses.
“After a hip fracture, elderly people tend to lose mobility, even if the fracture heals optimally,” Linda explains. “The shock of the fall and its consequences will lead people to be more fearful, which impedes their self-confidence. The social and psychological effects are immense.”
Small and lightweight
Wolk Company has been designing the ultimate airbag system since 2013. After five prototypes, they’re now onto their final model that they will bring to market at the end of the year at the cost of 450 Euros per unit. The airbag system fits in a small, lightweight belt that can be worn invisibly underneath clothing. The technical specifications have been developed in collaboration with Delft Technical University.
“Movement is good for our bodies, it keeps us in shape,” Linda says. “But sometimes, we need protection in order to be able to walk with confidence again. We believe that elderly people should no longer suffer injury, or fear of injury, from falling accidents. And we’re eager to contribute to this noble cause.”
Wolk Company has taken over ImpactCity’s Instagram account for the week. Have a look to gain more insight into their endeavors.