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Portable Device for the Measurement and Assessment of the Human Equilibrium

Abstract

This work presents the design and development of a new alternative tool to measure the Center of Pressure (CoP) displacements, intended to evaluate the human balance. The device is based on a modified commercial balance board used for video games, resulting in a low-cost, portable device capable of computing the CoP, providing 24 of the most used indexes to test the human balance. The proposed standalone device runs on rechargeable batteries, weighs only 3.5 kg, and has a data storage capacity for over 1000 tests. Visual and auditory instructions assist its user interface. Thus, contrary to the commercial systems designed for laboratory use, this device enables the measurement of quantitative balance parameters in non-laboratory places, allowing the study of the balance of vulnerable populations directly on their typical environments. To evaluate the device, 20 older adults (68.60 ± 1.23 years) were tested, and the resulting values were compared with a similar study using a force platform; 19 indexes showed a similarity with those reported using force platform and 12 of these were statistically equivalent. The proposed device represents an open-source alternative tool for researchers and healthcare personnel to acquire reliable data to evaluate human balance.

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Acknowledgments

EPAG gratefully acknowledges the scholarship from CONACyT to pursue his postgraduate studies. LPR was supported by a grant from the Secretaría de Educación, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de la Ciudad de México INGER-DI-CRECITES-003-2018 “Red colaborativa de Investigación Traslacional para el Envejecimiento Saludable de la Ciudad de México” (RECITES).

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Correspondence to Rigoberto Martínez-Méndez.

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Estévez-Pedraza, Á.G., Martínez-Méndez, R., Portillo-Rodríguez, O. et al. Portable Device for the Measurement and Assessment of the Human Equilibrium. Ann Biomed Eng 49, 933–945 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-020-02630-w

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Keywords

  • Center of pressure
  • Balance in older adults
  • Electronic system