Artificial balancer - Supporting device for postural reflex

Tytus Wojtara, Makoto Sasaki, Hitoshi Konosu, Masashi Yamashita, Shingo Shimoda, Fady Alnajjar, Hidenori Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The evolutionarily novel ability to keep ones body upright while standing or walking, the human balance, deteriorates in old age or can be compromised after accidents or brain surgeries. With the aged society, age related balance problems are on the rise. Persons with balance problems are more likely to fall during their everyday life routines. Especially in elderly, falls can lead to bone fractures making the patient bedridden, weakening the body and making it more prone to other diseases. Health care expenses for a fall patient are often very high. There is a great deal of research being done on exoskeletons and power assists. However, these technologies concentrate mainly on the amplifications of human muscle power while balance has to be provided by the human themself. Our research has been focused on supporting human balance in harmony with the human's own posture control mechanisms such as postural reflexes. This paper proposes an artificial balancer that supports human balance through acceleration of a flywheel attached to the body. Appropriate correcting torques are generated through our device based on the measurements of body deflections. We have carried out experiments with test persons standing on a platform subject to lateral perturbations and ambulatory experiments while walking on a balance beam. These experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of our device in supporting balance and the possibility of enhancing balance-keeping capability in human beings through the application of external torque.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-321
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Balance support
  • Body sway
  • Flywheel
  • Human balance
  • Posture reflex
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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