Studying slips ,trips falls and footwear
Firstly a simple idea .
Might a long single decked bus with the seating removed (except the for drivers seat ) make the ideal gait laboratory ? If you wanted to study gait on a horizontal plane then park the bus, complete with all the necessary recording equipment on flat ground .If you want to study gait on an inclined surface then park the bus on a suitable hill . Such a set up might be of great benefit to the evaluation of prosthetic lower limbs since the user could be studied walking up hill ,down hill and whist turning and transitioning from one to the other . Walking across an inclined plane could also be studied by parking the bus across a suitably inclined section of road .
So what could we use our gait bus/ lab for that can't already be looked at on a treadmill with incline and decline features ? Well as mentioned above walking across the slope of an incline with a prosthetic limb might be a difficult skill to master and this cant readily be studied on a treadmill .
However one of the biggest advantages of the suggested system is unlike a treadmill the nature of the underfoot surface in the bus/lab can be changed to really anything you want . By its very nature a treadmill will have a broad moving rubber belt which provides a non slip walking surface . However, pavements are rarely made of rubber and they can often be wet and slippery . These type of slippery conditions could be replicated on the bus/lab floor and any incline to be introduced would simply involve maneuvering the bus on an on campus hill or an incline perhaps built for the purpose .
Add a refrigeration aspect to the bus/lab and movement on an icy surface could be looked at in detail . For example the efficacy of non slip footwear could be thoroughly examined .
If a variable walkway longer than a bus was required then a 53 foot long refrigeration trailer with variable temperature settings might be kitted out to provide such a lab whilst still allowing , hill generated , gradient changes . This might allow for a wider range of experimentation .
A perhaps useful but more complex idea might be the following .
With regard to balance perturbation studies in general, it is my understanding that most perturbation delivery systems simulate slips with the functional base of support (FBOS) of a subject being unexpectedly moved out from beneath the centre of gravity (COG) .
However , it is also my understanding that more falls are caused by trips and improper weight shifting than by slips . With this in mind a University specializing in slips trips and falls might benefit from a system designed to allow the COG to be unexpectedly propelled beyond the FBOS . On a one off basis, such a system may involve the following -
Create a circular chassis of about 4-5 m in diameter . The chassis would be supported by 5-6 wheels designed to allow the vehicle to move a bit like shopping trolley , that is able to rotate about a central axis whilst progressing in any horizontal direction .
A body would be built up on the chassis to give a sturdy enclosed space with a roof capable of supporting any necessary safety harness .
The vehicle would be powered by electric motors and would have a top speed of say 3-4 miles per hour . It would have no confounding suspension and an excellent breaking system .
The vehicle would be controlled from an outside vantage point by someone other than the test subject .
A circular or oval road would be required for the vehicle to move around and this would need to be at least 400m-500 long .
A pre existing athletics track would be a possibility .
In practice the vehicle is set moving at 1- 2 mph around the track as it also slowly rotates about its own centre point in a predetermined fashion .
The test subject ,standing in the centre of the vehicle and wearing a safety harness ,would be unaware of whether he/she was traveling facing forwards ,backwards or anywhere in between .
At some point the controller would stop the vehicle causing the COG of the subject to move beyond the FBOS and cameras inside the vehicle would record subject response .
Simulated incorrect weight shifting whilst getting in and out of a chair might also be studied in the vehicle described . ( The chair might need to be secured to the vehicle floor .)
All safety concerns would of course be addressed during a risk assessment stage .
Any thoughts ?
Last edited by Gerrard Farrell; 11-30-2016 at 04:02 AM.
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