OpenFalls is an open-source software project in development by J. Lucas McKay, Ph.D. M.S.C.R. and colleagues at Emory BMI and Neurology. It is designed to make it easy for people with Parkinson's disease and other conditions to let researchers know when they experience a health outcome like a fall. By letting us know what happens to you when you fall, you can help us understand why people fall and how to prevent falls.

Initial Concept

The initial concept for OpenFalls was a smartwatch app that would let research participants dictate what happened to them after a fall and send this information to the research team. (Some commercial products – think "LifeCall", more recent products by Philips – had functionality for this, but none of them were open source, and they were mostly designed to connect people to a call center, rather than to a study database.) Other important variables like time since medications could also be tracked – and more advanced implementations could even use the functionality built into the smartwatch to call for help in case of emergency.

OpenFalls Smartwatch App Initial Concept

Initial Prototype

Based on the popularity of the Apple Watch platform among research participants, the initial prototype was developed in late 2020 / early 2021 as a standalone Apple Watch application. The current prototype includes most of the intended functionality and will be rolled out to research studies soon. The initial prototype was developed by Whitney Bremer.

OpenFalls Smartwatch App Initial Prototype


OpenFalls is activity recruiting people who are interested in preventing falls. Please contact Dr. McKay.

OpenFalls is currently supported by Emory University.
If you are interested in supporting OpenFalls, please contact Dr. McKay.