This Smart-belt Helps Parkinson Patients Prevent Falls

Everyone has an aging family member, or maybe an unfortunate member is suffering from a physically challenging ailment that requires special assistance to perform necessary daily tasks, like walking and maintaining balance.  What if there is a solution to help personalize the assistance you receive during physical training?

A research group at the University of Houston, TX, is currently developing a sensor-packed smart-belt dubbed, The Smarter Balance System, that learns physical patterns of the patient and develops a custom in-home rehabilitation program, using a smart-phone based app, the patient is able to utilize a personalized training system that is designed around their own specific movement patterns.  This system is supposed to help train the patient to move smarter and stronger with less balance issues, while reducing fall incidents.

“The smartphone application records and creates a custom motion for their body tilt based on their individual limits of stability, the touch guidance from the vibrating actuators is almost acting as if a physical therapist is guiding them.”–Albert Fung, a UH graduate student.

While, there are some resources on the market for Parkinson’s patients, i.e.; medications, clinical rehab facilities, neurological surgical procedures, and nursing care. None of these examples specifically address the risk of fall to either elderly or patients suffering from a neurological disorder than can affect stability and falling, the way this Smart-belt is being designed.

The Smarter Balance System, is designed with one thing in mind, personalize the training system for patients with special and specific physical limitations, allowing them to create realistic strength training exercises specific to their physical condition.  This is one more piece of innovation that is meant to improve lives, and decrease injury within a vulnerable population.  I don’t know about you, but I appreciate when technology is able to bring peace of mind to families fighting debilitating diseases.

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