Feeling free with every step you take
What is the BalanceBelt?
The BalanceBelt is a health & well-being wearable that uses haptic feedback to help patients suffering from severe balance disorders find their balance and regain their independence.
Patients suffering from severe balance disorders such as Bilateral Vestibular Loss (BVL) experience severe imbalance and difficulty walking. BVL affects an estimated 81 people out of every 100,000, which amounts to over 6 million people worldwide.
By providing haptic feedback on the wearer’s body position and balance, the BalanceBelt helps BVL patients move around freely without relying on others, walking sticks or wheelchairs. Research has demonstrated that the BalanceBelt leads to an improved quality of life.
BalanceBelt: How It Works
A smart belt with integrated accelerometer and vibration motors.
Haptic feedback on body position for balance disorder patients:
The BalanceBelt contains several tiny vibration motors (tactors) and an accelerometer. The belt senses the direction the wearer is leaning toward and provides vibrational feedback to alert the wearer about their body position.
The wearer interprets the feedback subconsciously, corrects their posture and improves their balance this way.
Suitable for daily use:
- The haptic technology feedback developed by Elitac Wearables for the BalanceBelt is both subtle and intuitive.
- Sizes ranging from XS-XL
- Washable textile sleeve
- Chargeable in 6 hours, battery lasts up to 16 hours
Purchasing the BalanceBelt
Past clinical trials have shown a significant improvement in the quality of life for people suffering from severe Bilateral Vestibular Loss (BVL):
Kingma, H., Felipe, L., Gerards, MC. et al. Vibrotactile feedback improves balance and mobility in patients with severe bilateral vestibular loss. J Neurol 266, 19–26 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-018-9133-z
The belt may benefit patients suffering from other balance disorders, but there is no clinical evidence for this yet. Additional clinical trials are necessary to investigate the extent to which the belt can aid patients suffering from other types of balance disorders.
What BalanceBelt users are saying
“After both my balance organs became non-functional, I completely lost my independence. Thanks to the BalanceBelt, I’ve regained it to a large extent: I am much less reliant on others. Moreover, it helps me enjoy activities again that had become difficult or impossible due to my balance disorder, like visiting friends and shopping, but also my great passion, travelling.
I would recommend the BalanceBelt to anyone who suffers from a comparable balance disorder.”Mrs Zeegers
“Both my balance organs stopped functioning after a prolonged hospital stay in 2016 and my life changed completely: Just sitting down and getting up became difficult and I could only move around outside with a rollator or stick. I struggled more and more to keep exercising and doing the things I love.
Thanks to the BalanceBelt I am able to live an active life again: I go for 1-2 mile walks most days, without rollator and with a steady gait. I also wear it when I go grocery shopping and cycling, for when I get off the bike. I would recommend it to anyone with a comparable balance disorder: Try the belt and see if it helps you as well.”Mr van Tijen
Optimising prototype design & scaling production
The concept of the BalanceBelt was first realised for daily use by Prof. Dr Kingma of Maastricht University. He collaborated with the Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+) and Maastricht Instruments to develop the BalanceBelt Proof of Concept and Pilot Samples.
The initial version of the belt proved its effectiveness in extensive patient trials. However, it was still very expensive and uncomfortable to wear due to the weight and design of the belt.
Elitac Wearables involved as experts on wearables development and haptic feedback
For this reason, Elitac Wearables was asked to join the project at the Prototype stage. Our task was to make the belt fit for purpose: comfortable, washable, lightweight, breathable, cost-effective and suitable for scaled production.
We invited Elitac Wearables to the BalanceBelt project to optimise the haptic feedback and design.
Thanks to their experience with haptic feedback, usability and the scaled production of wearable electronics, we were able to develop a lightweight, comfortable and cost-effective version of the BalanceBelt.
Prof. Dr Kingma, Maastricht University
We developed improved Prototypes for extensive user testing and delivered the First Series in summer 2020.
Current project status
Elitac Wearables has finished production of the first batch of BalanceBelts for international distribution. The product was launched in summer 2020. For more information on purchasing the BalanceBelt, please contact us.
Patient trials for the BalanceBelt are still on-going. If you suffer from a balance disorder and wish to be included in the trial process, please contact the ENT practice at the Maastricht University Medical Center+.