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Fun and accurate static balance training to enhance fall prevention ability of aged adults: A preliminary study

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Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries

Published online on


Fall prevention is critical for aged adults as falling down has been cited as the number one cause of accidental death in aged adults. Static balance training is an effective method of increasing the balancing capacity in aged adults and reducing their fall risk. This article discusses a method that combines virtual reality (VR) technology with motion‐capture devices for aged adults to practice static balance training in a fun and accurate environment. The aged adults wore motion‐capture devices to interactively manipulate a three‐dimensional (3D) human model (HM) in a virtual environment to follow a 3D posture model (PM). The proposed method was implemented using commercial, off‐the‐shelf 3D tools. A preliminary usability study was conducted, and the results show that the parameters of PM design will affect the aged adult's posture control performance. Our method has several advantages over the currently existing approaches. First, by adjusting the PM parameters, different posture control programs could be designed to support customized static balance training. Second, collision detections between the HM and PM could be used to accurately monitor the posture control process and to interactively provide feedback to the trainee. Third, posture control quality could be quantitatively evaluated by analyzing the collision data between the HM and PM. The proposed method could be used to develop a fun, accurate, and customized static balancing capacity training environment for aged adults. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.