Publication Details

Ma, C. Z., Wong, D. W., Lam, W. K., Wan, A. H. & Lee, W. C. (2016). Balance improvement effects of biofeedback systems with state-of-the-art wearable sensors: A systematic review. Sensors, 16 (4), 434 - 1-434 - 34.


Falls and fall-induced injuries are major global public health problems. Balance and gait disorders have been the second leading cause of falls. Inertial motion sensors and force sensors have been widely used to monitor both static and dynamic balance performance. Based on the detected performance, instant visual, auditory, electrotactile and vibrotactile biofeedback could be provided to augment the somatosensory input and enhance balance control. This review aims to synthesize the research examining the effect of biofeedback systems, with wearable inertial motion sensors and force sensors, on balance performance. Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials were included in this review. All studies were evaluated based on the methodological quality. Sample characteristics, device design and study characteristics were summarized. Most previous studies suggested that biofeedback devices were effective in enhancing static and dynamic balance in healthy young and older adults, and patients with balance and gait disorders. Attention should be paid to the choice of appropriate types of sensors and biofeedback for different intended purposes. Maximizing the computing capacity of the micro-processer, while minimizing the size of the electronic components, appears to be the future direction of optimizing the devices. Wearable balance-improving devices have their potential of serving as balance aids in daily life, which can be used indoors and outdoors.



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