Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik
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A simple new device to examine human stance: the totter-slab
- Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Institut für Sportwissenschaft, Arbeitsbereich III, Tübingen, Germany
- Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Orthopädische Klink, Biomechaniklabor, Tübingen, Germany
- Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Institut für Sportwissenschaft, Lehrstuhl für Bewegungswissenschaft, Jena, Germany
- Other articles by this author:
- De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
This article describes a new measuring device to investigate balancing strategies of human stance: the totter-slab, i.e., a standing plate suspended with steel cables to hooks on a steel frame. First, we analysed the physical properties of the device by recording free oscillations under different conditions [varying amplitude, mass and centre of mass (COM) height]. This allowed us to determine the eigenfrequency and the damping coefficient D<1 Ns/m for each trial. The trials showed that the measured damped eigenfrequency of Hz is barely dependent on the mass loaded. The ratio 1/s is a constant almost independent of the different conditions. Furthermore, we determined the stiffnesses of the suspending cables and their suspension points to check for potential energy storage capacity of the totter-slab. We found that the totter-slab is a useful, well-defined, reliable and developable measuring device for different non-rigid-ground stance conditions. In a second part of the investigation, we compared the frequency spectra of six subjects balancing on the totter-slab with their spectra while standing quietly on a force plate fixed to the ground. The totter-slab spectra showed two distinct, dominant peak regions at approximately 0.3 and 1.1 Hz. This finding enforces the double inverted pendulum to be an adequate model particularly for balancing on the totter-slab. Compared with the firm ground condition, these two peak regions were more pronounced when balancing on the totter-slab. However, there is a variety of frequencies in the region 0.2…1.5 Hz specific for an individual subject in both balancing conditions.
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