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1. (WO2007012068) DEVICE FOR MOVEMENT DETECTION, MOVEMENT CORRECTION AND TRAINING
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What is claimed is:

1. A device for detecting and correcting instability in an ankle/foot region of an individual comprising:
a body constructed to be worn around the ankle/foot region of the individual;
first and second sensors arranged so that when the device is worn, the first sensor is positioned at a first location of the foot, the second sensor being positioned at a different second location of the foot;
a controller operatively connected to the first and second sensors;
first and second vibrating elements in communication with the controller, the first vibrating element being located proximate the first sensor, the first vibrating element being actuated for a predetermined time period when the first sensor is bent a first predetermined extent, the second vibrating element being located proximate the second sensor, the second vibrating element being actuated for a predetermined time period when the second sensor is bent a second predetermined extent; and
a power source for powering the device.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the body comprises an ankle brace that is constructed to fit around the ankle and foot region of the individual and includes fastening elements to ensure the body is securely held in place around the ankle/foot region, the first location being a lateral side of the foot and the second location being a medial side of the foot.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the first and second sensors and motors are disposed along an inner surface of the body in facing relation to the ankle/foot region and the controller is located along an outer surface of the body.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the inner surface includes first and second channels formed in the inner surface with the first sensor lying the first channel and the second sensor lying in the second channel, with each of the first and second sensors being covered with a material that extends across and covers the first and second channels so as to space the sensor from the individual.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein the first sensor is positioned for placement near the lateral malleoli of the wearer and the second sensor is positioned for placement near the medial malleoli and the first motor is positioned for placement above the calcaneal fibular ligament underneath the lateral malleolus and the second motor is positioned for placement above the calcaneal fibular ligament underneath the medial malleolus so that the first sensor and first vibrating element alerts the individual to a first undesired movement of the foot and the second sensor and the second vibrating element alerts the individual to a different second undesired movement of the foot.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first and second sensors detects bending in only one direction.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first and second sensors comprises a piezo-resistive strip that provides and maintains a change in resistance based on the extent of bending of the strip, the strip being electrically connected to the controller so that when the strip is bent either the first or second predetermined extent, the controller actuates one of the first and second vibrating elements, respectively.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first and second sensors is constructed so that as the sensor is bent, the resistance thereof gradually increases and flexion of the sensor is converted into a voltage using a voltage divider circuit.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein each of the first and second sensors has an associated operational amplifier which is part of a circuit of the controller into which an output of the voltage divider is fed and which is configured so that when the sensor is not in flexion, the output is 5 V and when the sensor is in full flexion, the output of the voltage divider is dropped down linearly to 0 V.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein each operational amplifier is arranged to have a gain of 7.7 V and a reference voltage of 3.0 V and functions to scale and shift the output from the voltage divider to a 0 to 5 V range by providing a reference voltage to the operational amplifier with a value between maximum and minimum voltage outputs from the voltage divider, wherein an output of each operational amplifier is fed to a pair of A/D (analog/digital) ports on a programmable integrated circuit (PIC) microprocessor that forms part of the controller, the microprocessor process the A/D data and outputs a signal to activate one of the motors.

11. The device of claim 10, wherein the microprocessor includes an auto-calibration feature and is configured to receive analog input values as read by the first and second sensors and the output is a control signal delivered to one motor, the microprocessor sampling the outputs of the voltage dividers associated with the sensors at a predetermined rate and includes memory for storing a history of the outputs of the voltage dividers for the respective sensors.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein the first predetermined extent is when a difference between a current output of the voltage divider associated with the first sensor and an average of the stored history of the outputs of the voltage divider associated with the first sensor exceeds a predetermined threshold; wherein the second predetermined extent is when a difference between a current output of the voltage divider associated with the second sensor and an average of the stored history of the outputs of the voltage divider associated with the second sensor exceeds a predetermined threshold.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein the first predetermined extent is different than the second predetermined extent.

14. The device of claim 1, wherein the first predetermined extent is the same as the second predetermined extent.

15. The device of claim 1, wherein the controller is configured so that only one of the first and second vibrating motors is operated at one time.

16. A device for detecting movement and providing corrective feedback to an individual to influence the movement of the individual comprising:
a first means for detecting movement of the individual;
a controller in communication with the first means and configured to receive and store information relating to the detected movement of the individual over a period of time, the controller defining a range of movements that is considered acceptable based on the detected movements over time and the stored information; and
a second means for providing sensory feedback to the individual when the controller determines that the detected movements lies outside of the acceptable range to assist in correcting the movement of the individual.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the first means comprises at least one sensor that detects an extent of movement of the individual and the controller stores in memory the extent of movement of the individual over a period of time so as to permit upper and lower limits of the acceptable range of movement to be defined.

18. The device of claim 16, wherein the sensory feedback is at least one feedback selected from the group consisting of physical sensory feedback, visual feedback and auditory feedback.

19. The device of claim 16, wherein the sensory feedback includes a first level of feedback that is actuated when the detected movement lies outside the acceptable range by a first degree and a second level of feedback that is actuated when the detected movement lies outside the acceptable range by a second degree that is greater than the first degree.

20. The device of claim 19, wherein the first degree represents a first amount of imbalance and instability that is detected in an ankle/foot region of the individual and the second degree represents a greater second amount of imbalance and instability that is detected in the ankle/foot region.

21. The device of claim 17, wherein the lower limit and upper limit are adjusted over time as the controller receives the information relating to the detected movement of the individual.

22. The device of claim 16, wherein the device is incorporated in at least one of a structure to monitor and correct head movement; a structure for placement in a wrist region to monitor movement of the wrist, and a structure for placement in an ankle/foot region to monitor movement thereof.

23. A device to detect and correct an undesired movement by an individual comprising:
a body to be placed at a target location of the individual;
at least one sensor arranged so that when the device is worn, the first sensor is positioned at the target location, the sensor being of the type that when a physical state of the sensor is modified, the resistance thereof gradually increases and the extent of the modification of the at least one sensor is converted into a voltage value;

a microprocessor operatively connected to the at least one sensor for receiving and sampling current voltage values outputted from the at least one sensor, the microprocessor including a memory for storing a history of the voltage values outputted from the at least one first sensor;
at least one feedback element in communication with the microprocessor, the at least one feedback element being located proximate the at least one sensor, wherein the microprocessor sends a control signal to operate one of the at least one feedback element when a difference between a current voltage value of the at least one sensor and an average of the stored history of voltages values of the at least one sensor exceeds a predetermined threshold resulting in actuation of the at least one feedback element for a predetermined time period to alert the individual of an occurrence of the undesired movement at the target location; and
a power source for powering the device.

24. A method for detecting and alerting an individual of instability in an ankle/foot region comprising the steps of:
disposing an ankle brace around an ankle and foot region of the individual, the ankle brace including first and second sensors that arranged so that when the device is worn, the first sensor is positioned along one side of the foot, the second sensor being positioned along the other side of the foot, the ankle brace having a first vibrating element located proximate the first sensor and a second vibrating element located proximate the second sensor;

sensing instability in the ankle/foot region when one the first sensor bends a first predetermined extent and the second sensor bends a second predetermined extent due to ankle and foot movement; and
instructing one of the first and second vibrating elements to vibrate for a predetermined amount of time depending upon which of the first and second sensors is bent to the first and second predetermined extents, respectively, to alert the wearer of instability in the ankle/foot region.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the step of sensing instability comprises the step of:
bending the sensor due to movement of the ankle brace to cause the resistance thereof to gradually increase;
converting flexion of the sensor into a voltage value; and the step of instructing one of the first and second vibrating elements comprises the steps of:
receiving and sampling current voltage values from the sensors;
storing in memory a history of the voltage values from the sensors; and
sending a control signal to operate one of the first and second vibrating elements when a difference between a current voltage value of one sensor and an average of the stored history of voltages values of the one sensor exceeds a predetermined threshold resulting in vibration of the respective vibrating element for the predetermine time period.