The accuracy of rapid treadmill-belt movements as a means to deliver standing postural perturbations

Jeremy R. Crenshaw, Kathie A. Bernhardt, Emma Fortune, Kenton R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Treadmill-induced postural perturbations are a promising tool in assessing and reducing the risk of falls. We evaluated the accuracy with which two treadmills (Simbex ActiveStep® and an AMTI instrumented treadmill) achieved commanded displacements, peak velocities, and average initial accelerations. To do so, we included a range of perturbation magnitudes (20, 30, and 40 cm displacements) applied in unweighted and weighted (body mass = 46–84 kg) conditions. Across treadmills and perturbation magnitudes, absolute errors in displacement (< 0.5 cm) and peak velocity (< 4 cm/s) were small (relative error < 5%). Between-treadmill differences in displacement and peak velocity were marginal (< 3%), regardless of the perturbation magnitude and participant body mass. Observed accelerations were more than 5% smaller than commanded values. The front, but not back, AMTI belt demonstrated less acceleration accuracy than the ActiveStep® (≈ 5% difference). In summary, both treadmills demonstrated a reasonable, consistent level of accuracy in delivering postural perturbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Balance
  • Disturbance
  • Falls
  • Stability
  • Surface translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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