BenchBalance is a benchmarking solution proposed to conduct reproducible balance assessments in various conditions, mainly focused on wearable robots but also applicable to humanoids. The main goal of the BenchBalance testbed is to improve the current methods of balance assessment and stabilization capability of wearable exoskeletons designed for assistance of people with motor disorders. To approach this goal, BenchBalance integrates two key elements: (1) a portable perturbator equipped with different sensors, which can provide and quantify well-defined pushes to the human upper body during both, standing and walking conditions; and (2) a smart garment equipped with optical fiber sensors, which determines the location and orientation of the generated disturbance in relation to the human wearing the exoskeleton.
BenchBalance proposes a low-cost system that provides a quantitative assessment related to the reaction and capacity of wearable exoskeletons to respond to controlled external perturbations. The information of the provided external force (magnitude, direction, location and orientation) will be combined with kinematic data from a wearable exoskeleton or a motion capture system in order to generate an accurate balance assessment. In this assessment we relate the provided push to the time needed to recover from the perturbation and the magnitude of the induced body-sway.
BenchBalance is a portable system (low weight, manageable size and battery powered), and thereby, it is possible to implement the balance assessment in any type of circumstance (inside or outside environments and static or dynamic conditions). Moreover, the replicability of the system is ensured by the use of basic components and 3D-printed materials.