Use of Haptic Anchors to Improve Balance and Mobility in Aging Populations
Dr. Allison Oates
University of Saskatchewan
About the researcher
MD Student at the University of Saskatchewan
Walking is a surprisingly complex task. Just look at two-legged robots for proof. Unfortunately, this means that people with certain brain conditions can struggle with the complex task of walking and experience issues with mobility. This study examined a low-tech intervention that could have some big impact: haptic anchors (pictured above). This elegant device provides your brain with extra information to improve mobility. The results of this project were published in a peer-reviewed Journal.
The paper published was a proof of concept showing that haptic anchors could be a more effective approach to increasing mobility. Since many different neurological disorders present challenges with mobility, the impact of haptic anchors could be quite large. While this simple intervention could help with conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, it could be even be used to help regular people when old age presents challenges for getting around.
This research helped kick-start a larger series of studies exploring the neuroscience of haptic anchors to better understand exactly how they work and what neurological populations could benefit from them. These kinds of studies are crucial in if this intervention will make the leap from the laboratory bench to the bedside. Or perhaps a more accurate description would be for this intervention to restore freedom of movement back to our elders and those with neurological motor challenges.