A new device holds promise for keeping impaired balance patients from falling over. A press release tries to describe it — it’s like a pager because it’s worn on the belt. It’s like an iPod because it has earphones. And it’s like a carpenter’s level because, well, just read:
The balance feedback device acts much like a carpenter’s level in alerting the subject to how much they are leaning outside of a predetermined central “safe-zone.” The device is connected to a pair of headphones and hooked to the subject’s belt. When activated, subjects receive audio cues to let them know how their body is balancing.
“Different tones and intensities tell subjects when they are leaning outside of their central safe zone,” explains Marco Dozza, a graduate student in bioengineering at the University of Bologna who spent part of last year conducting human tests of the device in Horak’s specially designed balance disorders lab.