Influence of feedback parameters on performance of a vibrotactile balance prosthesis

Adam D. Goodworth, Conrad Wall, Robert J. Peterka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We investigated the influence of feedback conditions on the effectiveness of a balance prosthesis. The balance prosthesis used an array of 12 tactile vibrators (tactors) placed on the anterior and posterior surfaces of the torso to provide body orientation feedback related to several different combinations of angular position and velocity of body sway in the sagittal plane. Control tests were performed with no tactor activation. Body sway was evoked in subjects with normal sensory function by rotating the support surface upon which subjects stood with eyes closed. Body sway was analyzed by computing root mean square sway measures and by a frequency-response function analysis that characterized the amplitude (gain) and timing (phase) of body sway over a frequency range of 0.017-2.2 Hz. Root mean square sway measures showed a reduction of surface stimulus evoked body sway for most vibrotactile feedback settings compared to control conditions. However, frequency-response function analysis showed that the sway reduction was due primarily to a reduction in sway below about 0.5 Hz, whereas there was actually an enhancement of sway above 0.6 Hz. Finally, we created a postural model that accounted for the experimental results and gave insight into how vibrotactile information was incorporated into the postural control system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Balance prosthesis
  • Feedback control model
  • Posture control
  • Sensorimotor integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Internal Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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