Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

Vibes is a belt for people with balance issues that will release a short vibration that lasts only for an instant in order to alert the wearer that they are out of balance and thereby improve their postural sway.

Friedreich's ataxia is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system. It manifests in initial symptoms of poor coordination such as gait disturbance. From interviews with Caroline, it was found that poor balance affects her daily life, making it harder to balance at home (kitchen or shower) as well as out in public. It hinders her ability to participate in activities like riding a bike, running, skiing, and as an adult it really has an effect on her independence.

Vibes was created with the goal of improving balance, which would in turn improve Caroline’s everyday life and that of others with similar balance issues. It is a belt that can be adjusted to fit the wearer’s waist and it uses haptic feedback to reduce postural sway and therefore improve balance. The belt releases a short vibration that lasts for only a few seconds so as to alert the wearer that they are out of balance. It includes gyroscopic technology and vibrators using an arduino board to create the technological component of the apparatus.

Team Members

(Fall 2015) Catherine Clarke, Julian Gregory, Zachary Keiser, Angie Klosterman, Alyssa Pack, Carrie Vennefron

(Spring 2016) Julian Gregory, Kendall Toerner, Keeton Yost, Ali Jahan Zaib