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Conference Proceeding

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Postural instability assessment is an important tool in fall risk analysis and for timely intervention of falls to reduce or prevent fall injuries. Traditionally fall risk is measured though postural sway assessment and is collected through forceplates by mapping Center of Pressure (COP) excursions or using motion analysis camera system for marker sway trajectories. However, both of these systems are expensive and lack portability to their usage in clinical environments. In this study, we developed a novel wearable low-cost MEMS inertial sensor and validated its usage for human postural sway assessment in standing posture with eyes open/closed, vibration/no vibration, and proprioception /low proprioception conditions. The two objectives of this study were: 1) To develop and validate an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for sway analysis 2) To determine the feasibility of the system in detecting human postural imbalances such as reduced proprioception or presence of stochastic resonance induced through subthreshold vibrations on the feet. The novel IMU was tested for sway against infra-red marker on a specialized platform with 4-degrees of freedom. Many parameters of postural sway such as sway velocity, Root Mean Square (RMS), and sway path length could successfully detect subtle postural changes due to varying proprioceptive and sub-threshold vibration conditions. We found agreement in sway signal determinism from the two methods. Clinical Relevance— This wearable sensor technology has potential to determine balance in reliable, easy and accurate way in clinical environments.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article presented at the 2020 42nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC). The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


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