A wearable device to assess postural sway

V. Agostini, E. Aiello, D. Fortunato, M. Knaflitz, and L. Gastaldi
2019 IEEE 23rd International Symposium on Consumer Technologies (ISCT)

The maintenance of balance in upright stance is traditionally evaluated using heavy and expensive force platforms. The aim of this work is to prove the usefulness of a low-cost wearable sensor (an actigraph) to assess postural sway. We compared the performance of the device to a gold standard force platform. We analyzed measurements of postural sway in four conditions differently challenging the subject: with eyes open or closed, while keeping a small or large base of support. We estimated the main postural parameters (ellipse area, mediolateral and antero-posterior root-mean square, eccentricity, sway path length) considering: 1) acceleration data recorded by the actigraph, and 2) traditional COP data obtained from the force platform. We found that it is possible to clearly distinguish the differences among the postural parameters, obtained in the various balance conditions, also using acceleration data. Our results show that the wearable device allows for obtaining information similar to those achievable by the force platform. This support the use of wearable devices to assess postural balance, in a handy and cheap manner.

Read more