Development of an Elliptical Perturbation System that provides unexpected perturbations during elliptical walking (the EPES system)

Shoval Sade, Hodaya Pickholz, Itshak Melzer, Amir Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: ‘Perturbation-based balance training’ (PBBT) is a training method that was developed to improve balance reactive responses to unexpected balance loss. This training method is more effective in reducing fall rates than traditional balance training methods. Many PBBTs are performed during standing or treadmill walking which targeted specifically step reactive responses, we however, aimed to develop and build a mechatronic system that can provide unexpected perturbation during elliptical walking the Elliptical Perturbation System (the EPES system), with the aim of improving specifically the trunk and upper limbs balance reactive control. Methods: This paper describes the development, and building of the EPES system, using a stationary Elliptical Exercise device, which allows training of trunk and upper limbs balance reactive responses in older adults. Results: The EPES system provides 3-dimensional small, controlled, and unpredictable sudden perturbations during stationary elliptical walking. We developed software that can identify a trainee’s trunk and arms reactive balance responses using a stereo camera. After identifying an effective trunk and arms reactive balance response, the software controls the EPES system motors to return the system to its horizontal baseline position after the perturbation. The system thus provides closed-loop feedback for a person’s counterbalancing trunk and arm responses, helping to implement implicit motor learning for the trainee. The pilot results show that the EPES software can successfully identify balance reactive responses among participants who are exposed to a sudden unexpected perturbation during elliptical walking on the EPES system. Conclusions: EPES trigger reactive balance responses involving counter-rotation action of body segments and simultaneously evoke arms, and trunk reactive response, thus reactive training effects should be expected.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Balance reactive responses
  • Falls
  • Old people
  • Perturbation-based balance training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Rehabilitation

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