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research-article

Design and Evaluation of an Instrumented Wobble Board for Assessing and Training Dynamic Seated Balance

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew Williams

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta, Research Transition Facility, 8308-114 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2V2, Canada
aw7@ualberta.ca

Quinn Boser

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta, Research Transition Facility, 8308-114 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2V2, Canada
boser@ualberta.ca

Animesh Singh Kumawat

Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, WS2021F, 55 Harbord St, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2W6, Canada
animesh.kumawat@mail.utoronto.ca

Kshitij Agarwal

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta, Research Transition Facility, 8308-114 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2V2, Canada
kshitij@ualberta.ca

Hossein Rouhani

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, 9211-116 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 1H9, Canada
hrouhani@ualberta.ca

Albert Vette

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, 9211-116 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 1H9, Canada
albert.vette@ualberta.ca

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038747 History: Received August 25, 2017; Revised December 05, 2017

Abstract

Methods that effectively assess and train dynamic seated balance are critical for enhancing functional independence and reducing risk of secondary health complications in the elderly and individuals with neuromuscular impairments. The objective of this research was to devise and validate a portable tool for assessing and training dynamic seated balance. An instrumented wobble board was designed and constructed that: (1) elicits multidirectional perturbations in seated individuals; (2) quantifies seated balance proficiency; and (3) provides real-time, kinematics-based vibrotactile feedback. After performing a technical validation study to compare kinematic wobble board measurements against a gold-standard motion capture system, twelve non-disabled participants performed a dynamic sitting task using the wobble board. Our results demonstrate that the tilt angle measurements were highly accurate throughout the range of wobble board dynamics. Furthermore, the posturographic analyses for the dynamic sitting task revealed that the wobble board can effectively discriminate between the different conditions of perturbed balance, demonstrating its potential to serve as a clinical tool for the assessment and training of seated balance. Vibrotactile feedback decreased the variance of wobble board tilt, demonstrating its potential for use as a balance training tool. Unlike similar instrumented tools, the wobble board is portable, requires no laboratory equipment, and can be adjusted to meet the user's balance abilities. While future work is warranted, obtained findings will aid in effective translation of assessment and training techniques to a clinical setting, which has the potential to enhance diagnosis and prognosis for individuals with seated balance impairments.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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