An artificial vestibular system has been developed for people with a balance disorder. The product, designed as a posture balance and posture feedback belt, composes of a sensor, a computing unit and a variety of vibrating elements. The sensor determines the posture of the patient. The computing unit calculates how much and in which direction the patient stands from the vertical posture state, and drives the vibrating elements in that direction. Through vibration the patient receives information to which direction (s)he is out of balance.
Equililibrium problems; a strong impact on daily life
People can suffer from a balance disorder during their lives. Elderly, but also young people can be affected by a sudden failure of the vestibular system. Certain life-saving antibiotics are known to impair the vestibular system. Also tick bites, and certain auto-immune diseases, can lead to a sudden failure of the equilibrium organ. This failure is permanent and cannot be overcome with medication or surgery. In case both vestibular systems fail, patients are severely impeded in moving around. Often, this will lead to falls and as a result, to bone fractures. In addition, people often suffer from nausea which can lead to vomiting. These problems can cause depression and social isolation.
A walker has become indispensable for many patients. Intensive physiotherapy and adjustments to their living environment are required to achieve an acceptable quality of life. Currently, besides the walker, there are no products available on the market that can relieve the lives of these patients, let alone that they can move around without a “drunken“ walk again.
The balance belt
An artificial vestibular system has been developed for people with a balance disorder. The product, designed as a belt, composes of a sensor, a computing unit and a variety of vibrating elements. The sensor determines the position of the patient in space. The computing unit calculates how much and in which direction the patient stands from the vertical state, and drives the vibrating elements. Through vibration the patient receives information to which direction (s)he is out of balance.
Balance belt benefits
- Proven effective
- Not stigmatizing: wearable underneath clothes
- Comfortable fabric finish
- Patient specific design possible
- Reliable functioning
- Long battery life
An effective aid
The balance belt helps people who have trouble keeping their postural balance. The additional feedback that the product provides about a person’s posture enables them to maintain their balance more optimally. As a result, the device has a positive effect on the quality of life. Moving around will cost a lot less effort, both physically and mentally, which allows people to participate more actively in daily activities again.
- Demonstrator for application development
- Research prototype for validation studies
- Technology platform for customer specific / OEM product development
- Commercialization license for medical applications