Novel Soft Haptic Biofeedback—Pilot Study on Postural Balance and Proprioception

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Sensory feedback is critical in proprioception and balance to orchestrate muscles to perform targeted motion(s). Biofeedback plays a significant role in substituting such sensory data when sensory functions of an individual are reduced or lost such as neurological disorders including stroke causing loss of sensory and motor functions requires compensation of both motor and sensory functions. Biofeedback substitution can be in the form of several means: mechanical, electrical, chemical and/or combination. This study proposes a soft monolithic haptic biofeedback device prototyped and pilot tests were conducted with healthy participants that balance and proprioception of the wearer were improved with applied mechanical stimuli on the lower limb(s). The soft monolithic haptic biofeedback device has been developed and manufactured using fused deposition modelling (FDM) that employs soft and flexible materials with low elastic moduli. Experimental results of the pilot tests show that the soft haptic device can effectively improve the balance of the wearer as much as can provide substitute proprioceptive feedback which are critical elements in robotic rehabilitation.

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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