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B-Shoe (Balancing Shoe) - A robotic, however has a look & feel of a conventional shoe that prevent falls by the elderly

B-Shoe is a revolutionary concept and product that prevents falls caused by balance disorder in real time replacing the age old walking aids

Photo of Aharon
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

B-Shoe is designed for people suffering from balance disorder, typical to older adults. Such individuals will most probably fall unless they use the age old walking aids - canes and walkers. The big majority of people who should use walking aids refuse to use them since they symbolize weakness and dependence. B-Shoe is a robotic, however has a look & feel as a conventional walking shoe that automatically regains balance when needed. Otherwise B-Shoe behaves like a conventional shoe.

Balance/stabilityis maintained as long as the footprint of the center of gravity (COG)/center ofbody weight is inside the base of support/support area. 

All people experience swaying of the center of body weight. Imbalance occurs whenthe COG sways beyond the base of support as illustrated in the attachment. Since the footprint of the center of body weight is much closer to the rear edge ofthe base of support (because most of the body weight is on the heels), most incidents of imbalance occur when center of body weight sways beyond the rearborder of the base of support. 

Humanbeing has three bio systems responsible for imbalance alerting – vision, vestibular and proprioceptive.  Young people have sensitive bio systems that are able to detect imbalance at an early stage and they succeed to regain balance by slight movements of the body. However, when imbalance is already developed, people instinctively move a leg backward to regain balance. This “backward step” or sometimes called “compensatory step” is illustrated in the attachment.

Old people, however, because ofdegraded sensing bio systems detect imbalance with a delay, when it is already developed, and because of slow reflexes, they are not able to perform the backward step in time and they fall. Incidentally, the fall can occur in any arbitrary direction. In other words: the reason for the fall is the backward sway of theCOG, whereas the result can be a fall in any direction.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual
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Attachments (2)

OpenIDEO-2.pdf

B-She testing in a Gait Laboratory

OpenIDEO-1.pdf

B-Shoe - Concept of operation

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Photo of Pedro Pablo
Team

Aharon, this is a very interesting idea. I wonder how would the shoe be able to tell if the person is making unusual foot movements, for example, if they were dancing or going onto their tippy toes to reach for something?

Photo of Aharon
Team

Hi Pedro, unbalance occurs whenever the footprint of the center of gravity (COG) moves beyond the borders of the base of support (BOS). It may be helpful to see the illustrations. It is important to stress that the COG is very close to the rear border of the BOS, and this is exactly the reason why most falls occurs when COG crosses the rear border of BOS. By the way, why does a walker increase stability? Whenever a person is using a walker, he/she leans forward – this expands the BOS but especially shifts the COG forward far away from the rear border of the BOS. The sensors embedded in the shoe and the algorithms analyze in real time when fall is about to occur. In this event, B-Shoe will automatically react to regain balance. Any foot movement that does not cause balance problem will be disregarded. The shoe will certainly be aware of any foot movement but as mentioned, active reaction will take place only when necessary. Also, it is important to emphasize that B-Shoe has a look & Feel and behaves like a conventional/standard shoe except in the events of loose of balance when it has to actively react.

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