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Postural sway is a fall risk assessment tool traditionally measured using forceplates. However, it is expensive and lack portability to usage in clinical environments. In this study, a wearable low-cost MEMS inertial sensor was developed and validated for sway assessment. This study had two principal objectives (1) To develop and validate an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for sway analysis (2) To assess the feasibility of IMU in detecting slight balance impairments due to reduced proprioception or induced subthreshold vibrations on the feet. A total of 10 healthy young adults (five males and five females) participated in this study. We found that sway velocity, Root Mean Square (RMS), and sway path length could successfully differentiate postural changes due to varying proprioceptive and sub-threshold vibration conditions. We conclude that new cheap wearable sensors can be designed for accurate clinical postural sway assessments and have potential to diagnose postural impairments.


This is the initial version of an article that was submitted to Measurement, before it underwent peer review and was accepted for publication in volume 165 in 2020. It may differ from the final version, which is available at

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