DOI: 11, 2021Proceedings Paper

Design Evolution of a Head-Worn Biofeedback System to Address Vestibular Balance Impairment

Ahmad SulimanArnaldo Rivera


Balance impairment due to vestibular feedback loss is considered a significant disabling factor. While older adults are more often impacted by this impairment, unfortunate events and infections can cause a similar impairment in younger adults as well. This paper reports the design evolution of a prototype wearable system proposed to help reduce the recovery time of vestibular balance impairment. We describe the design evolution and rationale from a baseball cap design to a headband design, including the separation of the sensing and processing components, to reduce the weight positioned on the skull, which may adversely affect balance. We assessed balance performance of participants using the Motor Control Test (MCT) and Sensory Organization Test (SOT) in conjunction with Functional Gait Assessment as a balance test protocol. To evaluate system effectiveness, the tests were performed before the biofeedback system was activated and then again with the system active. Based on experiments with two participants (one healthy and one with bilateral vestibular balance impairment), the preliminary results show that our proposed system can be effective in the rehabilitation of impaired individuals.

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