Use of galvanic vestibular feedback for a balance prosthesis.

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Activation of vestibular afferents by a bilateral bipolar galvanic vestibular stimulus (GVS) evokes medial-lateral (ML) body sway. By applying a GVS feedback signal that is a function of measured ML head motion, the potential exists for GVS to restore a useful vestibular contribution to ML balance control in vestibular-deficient subjects who remain responsive to GVS. A key to developing an effective balance prosthesis using GVS is to determine the functional relationship between GVS and its influence on the brain's internal estimate of head motion. We describe how a model-based interpretation of GVS-evoked body sway can be used to identify this functional relationship. Results indicate that the GVS-evoked internal motion estimate is effectively a low-pass filtered version of the GVS current. With preliminary data, we demonstrate that GVS feedback, compensated for the identified low-pass characteristics, can either remove the ability of a subject with normal vestibular function to use vestibular information for balance control, or can restore the ability of a subject with bilateral vestibular loss to maintain balance in a condition requiring vestibular information for balance control.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics


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