Leveling the playing field: Evaluation of a portable instrument for quantifying balance performance

Sutton B. Richmond, Kevin D. Dames, Daniel J. Goble, Brett W. Fling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Balance is a complex, sensorimotor task requiring an individual to maintain the center of gravity within the base of support. Quantifying balance in a reliable and valid manner is essential to evaluating disease progression, aging complications, and injuries in clinical and research settings. Typically, researchers use force plates to track motion of the center of gravity during a variety of tasks. However, limiting factors such as cost, portability, and availability have hindered postural stability evaluation in these settings. This study compared the “gold standard” for assessing postural stability (i.e., the laboratory-grade force plate) to a more affordable and portable assessment tool (i.e., BTrackS balance plate) in healthy young adults. Correlations and Bland-Altman plots between the center of pressure outcome measures derived from these two instruments were produced. Based on the results of this study, the measures attained from the portable balance plate objectively quantified postural stability with high validity on both rigid and compliant surfaces, demonstrated by thirty-five out of thirty-eight observed postural stability metrics in both surface conditions with a correlation of 0.98 or greater. The low cost, portable system performed similarly to the lab-grade force plate indicating the potential for practitioners and researchers to use the BTrackS balance plate as an alternative to the more expensive force plate option for assessing postural stability, whether in the lab setting or in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Jun 25 2018


  • BTrackS
  • Center of pressure
  • Force plate
  • Postural sway
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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