Force plate technology is used to measure balance, gait, and other parameters of biomechanics, most commonly for medical and athletic performance purposes. In their simplest form, force plates are designed with a single pedestal. More advanced designs feature a pair of rectangular or triangular plates with load cells or triaxial force transducers between them at the corners.
Force plates are available in multiple configurations: Single-force and dual-force. In addition to assessing performance in double leg tests and strength and power asymmetries in unilateral jump and isometric tests, dual-force platforms provide an additional level of intelligence on neuromuscular status by evaluating the force distribution between limbs during double limb tests. This reveals critical information on strength asymmetries and compensatory strategies.
Additionally, force plates can be classified by pedestal and transducer type. Single pedestal models, sometimes called load cells, are better for measuring forces applied over a smaller area. Multi-pedestal models, on the other hand, are better for gait analysis and measuring movements. This is because they can permit forces that migrate across the plate, such as walking ground reaction forces that start at the heel and finish at the toes.
Why Use Force Plates in Balance Assessment?
Force plate analysis is a key component in posturography, the measurement of postural sway. There are two types of posturography: Static and dynamic. Static posturography refers to the ability to maintain balance on a fixed platform. This can determine any weight-bearing asymmetries, increases in sway path that indicate unsteadiness, and small limits of stability in which the patient can’t move without causing loss of balance.
Dynamic posturography measures postural reactions in response to a rotation of the surface, visual surroundings, or both for the purpose of analyzing postural reflexes and sensory re-weighing ability. This is particularly useful for analyzing older adults, stroke victims, and dizzy patients.
The benefits of using force plates in balance assessment comes from their ability to measure center of pressure (COP). A common variable used in postural studies, COP is the point of application of the resultant vertical force acting on the on the body from the supporting surface. The patient starts with their COP in the center of the targets and then attempts to learn in the direction of the target, without lifting their feet. They hold the position until the test is complete. At the conclusion of the test, the practitioner is provided with results that will help them diagnose the cause of the balance issues and set up a plan for treatment.
Bertec’s Force Plate Technology
Bertec’s force plates are designed for gait, balance, and performance analysis. Leveraging patented strain gauge technology, innovative transducer designs, and quality manufacturing, these force plates help you capture highly accurate data. Additionally, they lead the industry in COP and force measurement accuracy with negligible crosstalk, drift, and signal interference.
Sporting a modern, lightweight design, Bertec’s force plates are portable and easy to transfer from one location to another and are available in a variety of sizes and load ranges. Additionally, they feature the strongest industry warranty, extending seven years on hardware and electronics for fixed force plates. They can also be used with any motion capture system, including camera-based systems using passive or active markers.
Benefits of Bertec Force Plates
- Wide range of applications
- Variety of sizes and load ranges
- Superior electronics
- Negligible cross talk, drift and signal interference
- Ease of data collection
- Strongest industry warranty
Interested in learning more about Bertec’s force plate technology? Get in touch with your local e3 office today. They will be able to provide you with more information and set up a personal demonstration.