Development of a low cost force platform for biomechanical parameters analysis

AbstractIntroduction: The maintenance of balance and body orientation during standing is essential to perform different activities. One of the devices used to measure balance them is the force platform. This device measures the ground reaction force (GRF) and displacement of the center of pressure (COP), both biomechanical parameters involved in human motion. This article proposes a new design for non-commercial low-cost force platforms for scientific research purposes. Methods for calibration and validation are also described. Methods A force platform, developed according to International Standards of Measurement and dedicated to measuring feet contact forces was built for approximately one tenth of the cost of commercial platforms. Calibration was performed by loading known masses, centralized or distributed, on the platform. An experimental study was conducted with four volunteers in different conditions to validate and verify the practical applicability of the device. Results The platform calibration showed an adequate connectivity, linearity and reliable measurement of the variables proposed in this research, being suitable for studies of human postural behavior. Conclusion Based on the validation results, we believe the low-cost platform can be used as stabilometric device to measure postural control and balance in clinical or sports experiments. However future studies will be required to provide a final validation and compare its performance with other force platforms.