Researchers at the University of Houston are developing an app and belt that uses vibrations to help people with balance issues

For elderly individuals and people with Parkinson’s disease, balance can be a serious issue that impedes both mobility and quality of life. Researchers at the University of Houston are developing an app with a sensor-equipped belt called the Smarter Balance System that helps people with balance exercises.

The app is able to record and create custom exercises that help patients move and tilt their body based on their individual limits. Akin to the assistance a physical therapist would give a patient, the vibrations help guide individuals to have stronger posture and more stable movement. In addition to helping patients the system can also provide visual measures through a series of dots and targets on smartphone screens and send data to doctors and therapists so they can track patient’s progress. Not only does this provide a good measure on how individuals are doing it can also provide a way for health care professionals to adjust specific exercises to further help their patients.

Researchers are hoping that the smart system can help with both patient stability as well as reduce the number of falls, which results in greater confidence. It is estimated, according to the Sensori-Motor Augmentation and Rehabilitation Technology (SMART) group that 60% of people with Parkinson’s disease fall annually, and two-thirds of those people fall more than once or twice a year. To date, trials of the system have resulted in noticeable improvements for Parkinson’s patients.

Smart Balance System

For elderly individuals and people with Parkinson’s disease, balance can be a serious issue that impedes both mobility and quality of life. Researchers at the University of Houston are developing an app with a sensor-equipped belt called the Smarter Balance System that helps people with balance exercises.

The app is able to record and create custom exercises that help patients move and tilt their body based on their individual limits. Akin to the assistance a physical therapist would give a patient, the vibrations help guide individuals to have stronger posture and more stable movement. In addition to helping patients the system can also provide visual measures through a series of dots and targets on smartphone screens and send data to doctors and therapists so they can track patient’s progress. Not only does this provide a good measure on how individuals are doing it can also provide a way for health care professionals to adjust specific exercises to further help their patients.