Preventive balance training

Helping the elderly train their balance more effectively will hopefully lead to fewer falls. A UU Innovation funded collaborative project between Uppsala University, Dalarna University and Hedemora municipality has looked closely at this opportunity, in particular how interactive web-based platforms can help prevent fall-related accidents and thereby contribute to greater well-being, increased activity and better health.

Anna Cristina Åberg, Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, notes that the UU Innovation funding allowed a pilot project to be run during the autumn of 2014. Known as eBalans, it aims to develop a system that will enable older people to practice balance under the guidance of a physiotherapist, or simply by themselves at home. Two foreign-based prototypes were evaluated.

UU Innovation’s business and IP advisors are also investigating how the service could be commercialised, and are looking for design and development suppliers closer to home. Design is important. Using the system should be simple as well as fun. Like any other training, its effect is transient, so life-long use is especially important!

This case is one example of the successful application of a new type of funding, intended to benefit long-term collaborative projects between the academic, industrial, public and non-profit sectors. It is known as VFS and was launched by UU Innovation in 2014.