Application of Vibrotactile Feedback of Body Motion to Improve Rehabilitation in Individuals With ImbalanceBy Wall, III, Conrad; Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, Volume 34, Number 2, pages 98-104
Publication Date: June 2010
Paper outlines the development a prototype balance prosthesis. The device uses a 6-degree of freedom motion sensor comprising 3 linear accelerometers and 3 rate gyroscopes that provides linear acceleration and angular rate information to an algorithm in order to estimate trunk tilt relative to the vertical. The device then feeds back this tilt information to the wearer via a 16 column by 3 row array of tactile vibrators that rings the torso. The device displays both magnitude and direction of body tilt and is held in contact using a wide elastic belt. Columns display tilt direction, while rows are used to display magnitude. The balance prosthesis was tested with 12 participants aged 43 to 71 years with vestibular hypofunction, 7 of whom were women. Participants stood on a platform that moved randomly in a plane, while receiving vibrotactile feedback in the anterio-posterior direction. The perturbation trials were not unlike standing in a moving bus or train. The feedback allowed participants to significantly decrease their anterio-posterior body tilt, but did not change medio-lateral tilt. A separate tandem walking task using 5 male and 5 female participants with vestibulopathies demonstrated a reduction in their medio-lateral sway due to vibrotactile feedback of medio-lateral body tilt, after controlling for the effects of task learning. The findings from two additional experiments conducted in the laboratories of collaborating physical therapists are also summarized. In addition, a third generation device that has been reduced from a vest to a belt format is described to demonstrate the progressive evolution from research to clinical application.
Published by: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins (Website:http://www.lww.com)
Link to text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898155/?tool=pmcentrez