University of Houston’s Smarter Balance System is a Wearable In-Home Rehabilitation Assistant

Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) shared this week the Smarter Balance System (SBS), which aims to provide real-time biofeedback to users with mobility impairments to reduce falls and increase safety in the home. The device is worn on the waist like a belt, and provides balance exercises through vibrotactile feedback to assist users improve their postural responses and torso based movements. SBS can send information wirelessly to a smartphone to share progress with the user’s care providers. Principal investigator and assistant professor at UH Beom-Chan Lee said, “our overarching goal is to improve their quality of life by improving postural stability, reducing the number of falls and increasing their confidence in daily activities. It’s important to develop a system that is easy to use and readily available in the home environment.”
The researchers see potential in adapting the Smarter Balance System for anyone with balance or mobility issues, including the elderly. Alberto Fund, a graduate student on the project wrote, “our system is centered around the user. It minimizes manual interactions and is mostly automated. The patients who have tested the system say it’s very easy to use and that’s very rewarding.”
Dr. Lee and his team recently received nearly $1 million from the American Parkinson Disease Association Scientific Advisory Board to continue their work in assisting users with mobility impairments. 


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.