Artificial balance organ for my disabled daughter

Hi, I am Matthias from Germany. I've been dealing with electronic circuits and microcontroller projects privately for more than ten years now, including e.g. the development and realization of all components necessary to get MIDI signals out of an old organ. Up to date, I etched my PCBs manually all the time, it worked and was enough.

Now to my project. My daughter, 5 years, suffers from a neurological dysfunction (from birth on) called cerebral palsy. Her main problem is that she has no proper feeling for balance, so she cannot sit, stand, walk without falling and she must be carried manually everywhere. There is neither a cure nor a good treatment. Several months ago, in a TV show, I saw an interesting approach for restoring balance using so-called biofeedback. They used an accelerometer to measure whether the person was in balance. If not, electrostimulation was applied. After a quick research, it turned out that indeed there have been several university research projects on this approach, but there is not a single device on the market that you can actually buy.

Therefore, I started to work on a portable, battery-driven device which does exactly this - measure the current balance position at up to four positions. Whenever my daughter tends to fall to the front or one side, soft electric pulses are applied at exactly that direction where she tends to fall so she knows "aha, I have to correct my position".

I have just finished working on the very first prototype (I have no photos yet, because it still looks too "hacky", but a photo will come soon). It is again a manually-etched, one-layer PCB, it uses a Microchip PIC µC, several step-up converters, opamps and more analog components. Yet, the prototype doesn't feature fancy things like battery charging. And because of the manual process, its footprint is too large for a portable device (16cm x 6cm PCB, excluding batteries). BUT - it is a great help for my daughter (well, it is a long learning process for her, but she is eager to do so).

I'd like to go for a second revision of that device, including a Li-Polymer battery, AC adapter and charging circuit. And it must be much smaller. This can only be done by a professionally-built PCB and this is why I apply for a free PCB.

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Jan 17,2018
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