ExerBalance – Balance–board based system for rehabilitation of patients with balance disordersAcademic Research

Description:

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is the main cause of death and disability among young adults. In most cases, survivors can experience balance instability, resulting in functional impairments that are associated with diminished health-related quality of life. Traditional rehabilitation therapy may be tedious. This can reduce motivation and adherence to the treatment and thus provide a limited benefit to patients with balance disorders. Moreover, falls and fall related injuries are one of the most serious problems in elderly people, many times leading to functional impairments, isolation and even death.

The idea around this thesis is to develop a system based on the Nintendo Wii Balance Board (WBB) or similar, which has been indicated by clinical therapists to improve standing balance in patients with ABI through motivational and adaptive exercises. The system should also be used for fall prevention, using the same type of exercises. The WBB contains four force sensors (located in each corner) that are used to measure the user’s centre of balance and weight.

The system is composed by game-based exercises that were designed in cooperation with physiotherapists, as well as the associated evaluation metrics (Berg balance scale, Brunel balance assessment, etc.). The exercise sessions are tracked by continuously retrieving relevant data from the sensors and the results (according to the provided metrics) may be stored for further analysis by the physiotherapists.

The final result was integrated in the ExerGames platform.

 

Outcome:

The virtual (physical) rehabilitation topic is being quite active over the last years. The outcome of this thesis expands the current offer of the ExerGames solution that was developed in the scope of the FCC - Fall Competence Center and improves our knowledge in body balance theory and its impact in psychological aspects (e.g., fear of falling) and objective aspects (e.g., fall prevention, risk of falling).

 

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