Dynamic posturography using a new movable multidirectional platform driven by gravity
Commissaris, D A C M Nieuwenhuijzen, P H J A Overeem, S de Vos, A Duysens, Jaak Bloem, B R # ×
Journal of Neuroscience Methods vol:113 issue:1 pages:73-84
Human upright balance control can be quantified using movable platforms driven by servo-controlled torque motors (dynamic posturography). We introduce a new movable platform driven by the force of gravity acting upon the platform and the subject standing on it. The platform consists of a 1 m2 metal plate, supported at each of its four corners by a cable and two magnets. Sudden release of the magnets on three sides of the platform (leaving one side attached) induces rotational perturbations in either the pitch or roll plane. Release of all magnets causes a purely vertical displacement. By varying the slack in the supporting cables, the platform can generate small (0.5 degrees ) to very destabilising (19 degrees ) rotations. Experiments in healthy subjects showed that the platform generated standardised and reproducible perturbations. The peak rotation velocity well exceeded the threshold required to elicit postural responses in the leg muscles. Onset latencies were comparable to those evoked by torque motor-driven platforms. Randomly mixed multidirectional perturbations of large amplitude forced the subject to use compensatory steps (easily possible on the large support surface), with little confounding influence of habituation. We conclude that this gravity-driven multidirectional platform provides a useful and versatile tool for dynamic posturography.