A pattern variation sheet, a method for inducing ambulation activity, and a gait guidance system


January 4, 2021

A system to facilitate and assist individuals with Parkinson’s to take a step with visual cues

Key Word : guidance systems, motion, motor function, parkinson’s disease, rehabilitation, visual stimuli, walking assistance

Background / Context / Abstract:

A “frozen gait” is a gait disturbance symptom, observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), in which the patient experiences difficulty in taking the initial step to walk or freezing of the gait resulting in a fall. The conditions under which the frozen gait is likely to occur include the initiation of walking, when changing direction, and when walking in a small space or a space with obstructions. However, the cause is yet to be determined and several different views exist. Some standard rehabilitation methods for frozen gait include applying a tape to the floor as a landmark to step over and using a certain rhythm when taking steps.

Technology Overview:

This invention is a design approach of visual stimuli using a lenticular lens sheet aligned on the floor at regular intervals. It was designed to facilitate and assist individuals to take a step with visual cues that can be obtained in association with the motion of the body of people with frozen gait.
This invention uses the phenomenon of vection (i.e., visual illusions in which individuals observing the unidirectionally moving visual patterns perceive them as if they are moving in the reverse direction). It consists of the cycle and amplitude of body sway that can induce ambulation activity, as well as a derivation method for increased rates of movement velocity with visual cues that can induce ambulation activity by producing visual-guided motor reflexes under the same conditions. It is a design method using visual cues that provide the visual stimuli at ×n velocity relative to the direction of the head motion.
This invention may be applicable for rehabilitation of people with frozen gait, which is often observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease, for one example.


The inventors found that body sway can be induced when the floor moves relative to the head motion of individuals in certain conditions. Currently, the invention is at the stage where the efficacy has been demonstrated in healthy individuals wearing a head-mounted display (HMD). Further validation studies with Parkinson’s disease patients have been planned, and ultimately, we are planning to establish a device application that can produce a similar effect by simply placing a particular sheet on the floor.

Further Details:

“Visual images as if an object moves corresponding to the body motion of individuals” were tested using an HMD. The results indicated that the maximum effect was obtained when the velocity of the “floor” movement in the HMD image was ×10 relative to the velocity of the (head) motion of the individuals.

Potential Applications / Potential Markets:

・Any device utilizing body reflection induced by visual stimuli.
・A rehabilitation device intended to assist or improve the gait of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
・Amusement tools, (stealth) marketing/advertisement, etc.

State of Development / Opportunity / Seeking:

・Available for exclusive and non-exclusive licensing
・Exclusive/non-exclusive evaluation for defined period (set up for options)
・Collaborative/supportive research
・Development partner

IP Status:

WO2018/207865 (PCT applied in Japanese)


More Technologies