A Distinctive Platform System to Study the Effects of a Vestibular Prosthesis on Non-Human Primate Postural Control

[+] Author and Article Information
Lara A. Thompson

ASME Professional Member, Biomedical Engineering Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Csilla Haburcakova

Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston MA 02139

Richard F. Lewis

Departments of Otology & Laryngology and Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02139; Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02139

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039140 History: Received September 13, 2017; Revised December 30, 2017


The purpose of this paper is to describe novel experiments and methodology utilizing a distinctive balance platform-system to investigate postural responses for moderate to severe vestibular loss and invasive vestibular prosthesis-assisted non-human primates (rhesus monkeys). For several millions of vestibular loss sufferers in the United States, daily-living is severely affected in that common everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed at night, maintaining balance on a moving bus, or walking on an uneven surface, may cause loss of stability leading to falls and injury. Aside from loss of balance, blurred vision and vertigo (perceived spinning sensation) are also debilitating in vestibular impaired individuals. Although the need for vestibular rehabilitative solutions is apparent, postural responses for a broad range of peripheral vestibular function, and for various stationary and moving support conditions, have not been systematically investigated. For the investigation of implants and prostheses that are being developed towards implementation in humans, non-human primates are a key component. The measurement system used in this research was unique. Our platform-system facilitated the study of rhesus monkey posture for stationary support surface conditions (quiet stance and head turns) and for dynamic support surface conditions (pseudorandom roll-tilts of the support surface). Further, the platform-system was used to systematically study postural responses that will serve as baseline measures for future vestibular-focused human and non-human primate posture studies.

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