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Sensory-Enhanced Balance Control at
Elevated Workplaces -FY 07

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a novel sensory-enhancing technology - randomly-vibrating ("smart") shoe inserts, to improve workers balance at elevation. The smart-shoe-inserts increase the pressure sensitivity under the feet by inducing undetectable mechanical vibrations.
 Smart shoe insert diagram

Applicable Standards

  • 29 CFR 1926.501,502
  • 29 CFR 1926.28,96

Key Partners

  • Boston University
  • Afferent Corporation


  • Afferent Corporation
  • Footwear industry
Man standing on elevated ledge

Project Scope

  • Improve worker balance control at elevation through a non-invasive engineering intervention
  • Use a surround-screen virtual reality system to simulate elevated construction environments, and motion analyses to test the effect of the new device on workers' postural stability.


  • Complete a prototype of the sensory-enhancing device
  • Complete a virtual construction workplace to test the prototype
  • Complete the evaluation of prototype effectiveness
  • Transfer study results to manufacturing partners


  • New knowledge on the factors and mechanisms involved in workers' balance control
  • Scientific basis for development of "smart," performance-enhancing PPE


  • None
Page last modified: May 07, 2007
Page last reviewed: May 07, 2007 (archived document)
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)