Integrated Sensors for Balance Augmentation

Period of Performance: 04/22/2013 - 11/29/2013

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Soldiers recovering from mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or relearning how to walk on a prosthetic lower limb often struggle with their balance. Of patients recovering from acute blast-induced mTBI, almost all (90%) report unsteadiness. These balance deficits affect ability to return to duty and ultimately quality of life. Recent research has shown that improvements can be made in upright standing balance by augmenting sensory information. For instance, sway-referenced tactile feedback improved patients balance. At present, there is a lack of systems capable of providing the measurements needed to apply these techniques to assist with balance during dynamic tasks such as walking. The potential to improve balance during walking and other more complex tasks would have an enormous impact on the quality of life for patients suffering from these sensory deficits and would provide a new tool to assist with rehabilitation. This project aims to create a system capable of providing the data necessary for augmenting sensory cues during dynamic tasks.