Sairag Saadprai, Supachai Vorapojpisut, Chaipat Srikajohnlap, Bunyong Rungroungdouyboon, "Design and Development of a Low-Cost Force Plate with Software Application for Analyzing Balance and Coordination Training for the Elderly", April 2021, Volume 24 Number 2, p.52-66.
The physical fitness of the elderly is more likely to deteriorate by aging. Balance and coordination exercise are important to maintain the strength of the musculoskeletal system, joints, and bones as well as to reduce the risk of falling. This study presents the development of a low-cost force plate with software application (Stand Balance) for analyzing balance and coordination training for the elderly. The structure of the force plate consists of load cell circuits connected with Node32s board as part of a signal measurement that sends wireless data via Bluetooth to analyze with LabView. The software application records real-time and displays data such as the patient’s weight and training information that could be sent to the healthcare provider who can analyze the patient’s information. The software has been designed in 4 operating modes (Balance Screening, Exercise, Games, and CoP Modes). The purpose of this study was to test whether the Stand Balance could detect Center of Pressure (CoP) and Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) and display the results regarding its accuracy and repeatability. This research found that the error of static weight measurement is 4.84%, which is assumed to be an acceptable measure of the GRFs (especially when the human body is contact to the developed force plate). Moreover, the absolute error of CoP-accuracy of (Top Middle, Top Right, Middle Left, Center, Middle Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Middle, and Bottom Right) study areas are 5.14, 4.08, 5.44, 5.02, 5.88, 7.25, 4.49, 5.28, and 6.47 mm, respectively and the error of CoP-repeatability of study areas are 0.82, 0.74, 1.21, 0.95, 1.34, 0.89, 0.74, 1.13, and 1.18%, respectively. The absolute errors of CoP-accuracy are very close to 0 mm and the error of CoP-repeatability are less than 1.5%, which show high accuracy and precision that adequate for Stand Balance to assess balance and train coordination. It could ensure that the Stand Balance could detect CoP and GRFs effectively and, therefore, can be used as a device for further clinical implementation with human.