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The development of a device for the investigation of dorsiflexion range of the ankle with a capacity to measure pathology, recovery and pharmacological benefit

Botha, Jan (2005-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


Various ways exist whereby balance abilities of the individual can be assessed. However, most of these are subjective methods. This thesis strives to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new device, the Dorsiflexometer that can be used to objectively assess one’s balance abilities. The Dorsiflexometer was constructed and mathematically modelled using appropriate simplifying assumptions. After its construction, the Dorsiflexometer was tested using two experimental set-ups to obtain raw data. Both these set-ups consisted of the two tiltable platforms equipped with three load cells each, the bridge amplifiers and the personal computer (PC). The only difference in the two experimental set-ups is in the type of test that was performed as well as the bridge amplifiers used. Numerous parameters, such as the radius of movement and the Lyapunov number can be extracted from the raw data. A computer program was written to analyse the raw data and present the results in a user-friendly manner. A new parameter, the Sway Index, was used to obtain a single balance value for the tested individual. This parameter proved useful in quantifying balance. An advanced patent search was carried out before the device was constructed. This was necessary to provisionally patent the device – official application number: 2003/6702.

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