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The Zibrio SmartScale measures physical balance to help boost athletic performance, injury recovery, as well as fall prevention in older adults. The accompanying free Balance Coach App provides the ‘why’ behind the balance score, and tracks progress over time. The test takes just 60 seconds.
Balance is a key indicator of physical health and is highly personal. It can fluctuate daily, and generally deteriorates to an extent over a lifespan. There are multiple highly successful interventions available to improve balance at any age, but what is missing is a simple, objective way of measuring balance.
Balance as a performance measure and balance training have been used by elite athletes for decades. Specialist balance clinics exist for those with diagnosed balance issues or recovering from injury. These scenarios all require clinical expertise, expensive machinery, a battery of functional tests, time and money that are not available to the average person. And when it comes to aging, the current gold standard for assessing fall risk is if the patient has already fallen, by which time it is too late for many.
- The CDC reports that 28% of people over 65 fall each year, costing a massive $50 billion annually.
- Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in over 65s, and death by falling carries a similar lifetime risk to death by automobile accident.
- Athletes incorporating balance training showed a significant reduction in knee/ankle injury compared to a control group with only sport-specific training [sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17379918 & https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15310562]
Zibrio had its genesis in the US Space Program and uses machine learning to establish patterns of stability and instability via a one-minute standing test with eyes open. It is simple enough to be self-administered by the user, and streamlined to also fit into a doctor’s checkup visit. The scale also measures weight. The balance score is a number between 1-10. 1-3 indicate a high risk of falling. 7 or above means good balance.
Who needs it?
Measuring and tracking balance is most relevant for:
- Athletes wanting to get an edge, and avoid injury.
- People who are generally healthy and want personalized insight into what works best for their health.
- People with poor balance, or at risk of falling due to muscle weakness or aging.
- People recovering from injury or surgery, especially of the leg / hip / foot.
The Zibrio Team is diverse generationally and global in outlook. We are based in Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. Our founders are:
Katharine Forth, CEO, has a doctorate in motor control and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA. She is an expert in postural stability and has created award-winning balance training programs for older adults. She is also a world champion athlete.
Erez Lieberman Aiden, CTO, has a doctorate from Harvard-MIT; his work has been featured on the cover of Nature and appeared on Nature’s list of best research of 2007. Erez is an asst. professor at Baylor College of Medicine.
- 2014-15: 2 year trial at senior living facilities where residents tested their balance each week. Participants reduced their fall rate during this time by 50%
- 2015: Participated in inaugural cohort at Texas Medical Center’s Accelerator (TMCx) in Houston, Texas.
- 2017-18: Raised Seed Round funding to enable build of 3rd generation prototype scales for 12 month prospective study involving over 400 people, including patients at UT Health, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Balance & Neuro Physical Therapy and Case Physical Therapy.
- 2018: Zibiro wins pitch competition and pilot opportunity with SOMPO, Japan
- March 2019: Finalist in SXSW Pitch competition, Health & Wearables
- Finalist in NASA Pitch at SXSW
- Finalist in Springboard’s Dolphin Tank at SXSW
- Release of free Zibrio Balance Coach app
- Pre-order of first SmartScales available via Indiegogo, delivery expected July 2019
- May 2019: Present paper at American Geriatrics Society annual conference, Portland, Oregon.
- June 2019: Sponsor of Athlete’s SAFE zone at National Senior Games, presented by Humana, at Albuquerque, NM
For further questions or clarifications, please contact Andrea Case-Rogers, CXO: andrea (at) zibrio (dot) com