A dynamic approach to balance assessment using self-induced perturbations

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University of New Brunswick


A novel balance assessment method for older adults was developed using a balance platform that induces dynamic self-perturbations and which could use synchronization as an adjustable level of assistance. Rather than measure the subject’s performance, the proposed balance assessment measures how much assistance they need to reach a standard level of performance. A swaying balance platform was constructed and instrumented to conduct the balance assessment with different levels of assistance. Nineteen healthy young adults were tested with self-perturbations introduced by following swaying visual instructions that changed frequency instantaneously. Experimental results were unable to confirm if synchronization was capable of providing assistance, nor whether the assessment outcomes could benefit from applying different levels of assistance. Future studies should focus on understanding how to ensure that synchronization occurs in the combined subject/instructions system.