Assessment of Multi-Joint Coordination and Adaptation in Standing Balance: A Novel Device and System Identification Technique

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The ankles and hips play an important role in maintaining standing balance and the coordination between joints adapts with task and conditions, like the disturbance magnitude and type, and changes with age. Assessment of multi-joint coordination requires the application of multiple continuous and independent disturbances and closed loop system identification techniques (CLSIT). This paper presents a novel device, the double inverted pendulum perturbator (DIPP), which can apply disturbing forces at the hip level and between the shoulder blades. In addition to the disturbances, the device can provide force fields to study adaptation of multi-joint coordination. The performance of the DIPP and a novel CLSIT was assessed by identifying a system with known mechanical properties and model simulations. A double inverted pendulum was successfully identified, while force fields were able to keep the pendulum upright. The estimated dynamics were similar as the theoretical derived dynamics. The DIPP has a sufficient bandwidth of 7 Hz to identify multi-joint coordination dynamics. An experiment with human subjects where a stabilizing force field was rendered at the hip (1500 N/m), showed that subjects adapt by lowering their control actions around the ankles. The stiffness from upper and lower segment motion to ankle torque dropped with 30% and 48%, respectively. Our methods allow to study (pathological) changes in multi-joint coordination as well as adaptive capacity to maintain standing balance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6963453
Pages (from-to)973-982
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • METIS-313946
  • IR-100590

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