Falls are an urgent challenge in aging societies, and balance dysfunction is a major risk factor. Current robotic technology that assists human locomotion, however, aims at versatile functionality, particularly in the assistance of weak muscles. Such versatile design leads to heavy, bulky devices that are impractical in daily life for most elderly subjects. In this paper, we investigate the use of minimalistic robotic technology that focuses exclusively on stabilizing human balance during gait. This task-specific device is novel in its combination of portability and simplicity. Our initial simulations show that it is possible to return a person to a vertical position from an engagement angle of 10 degrees from vertical. © 2012 IEEE.
Gyroscopic assistance for human balance
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