The BalanceBelt is a lightweight strap worn around the waist of patients who struggle with balance due to inner ear issues. It uses haptic feedback to help the wearer to guide the user safely.
Vestibular disorders are a common issue with a variety of causes, including ageing, head injuries, and viral infections. They are inner ear issues, and a common condition is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Vestibular loss, especially when severe, can have a huge impact on someone’s day-to-day life. A decrease in vestibular function causes a person to feel off-balance and can make walking a near-impossible task.
The BalanceBelt is a thin strap worn around the waist that tracks movements through a microprocessor. The belt measures the degree of tilt the wearer is experiencing and the acceleration of their imbalance. Ten small tactors spaced around the belt vibrate in response to the wearer’s movements to let them know if they are leaning too far in one direction.
The constant haptic feedback helps the wearer to self-correct before their shifted centre of gravity causes them to stumble or fall. Path finder is another device aimed at supporting with mobility, specifically those with Parkinson’s disease who become ‘stuck’ being unable to take a step forward while walking.