Vibrating insoles to reduce falls
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Seniors, and other people at risk of falls, may one day feel a bit steadier with the further evolution of vibrating insoles able to reduce falls by subtly stimulating the soles of the feet.
Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors, and are often the result of lack of balance and unsteady gaits caused by reduced sensations in the feet. Previous research has shown that stochastic resonance can mitigate some of the deficits in the sensory system by creating a sort of 'white noise' that enhances signal detection. But although the vibrating insole technology has been investigated already, the devices were limited by battery life.
To overcome these power-supply limitations I suggest embedding piezoelectric actuators inside the insoles, which will allow the device to generate its own power with every step. The vibrations will be extremely slight, almost imperceptible. Insoles are supposed to provide significant improvement in balance, gait and general control.