Innovations in Balance is an early-stage health-technology venture that will deliver superior results in fall prevention. Our proprietary suite of exercises is derived from balance-specific elements and principals of Yang Style Tai Chi, Judo, Kuntao-Silat, and other proven disciplines. An engaging user experience results from our game-design expertise, and from industry-standard technologies for automated analysis of the user’s body.
Ancient, but proven, techniques: Tai Chi has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of falls by 46% to 55%, in three different randomized controlled studies of older adults, summarized in “A CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions: What Works for Community-Dwelling Older Adults.” Each of these studies used a generalized Tai Chi form that was simplified or shortened.
The exercises for Innovations in Balance also draw from Tai Chi traditions, but are unique in having been developed specifically for improving balance. Although focused tightly on balance, they draw from a wide range of disciplines: In addition to Yang Style Tai Chi, the program incorporates principles of Judo (a martial art particularly focused on balance/imbalance), Qigong (or “Chi Gong”, emphasizing internal energy/healing), Yiquan (which trains natural, integrated movement through body-awareness), and other practices in which Chief Content Officer & co-founder Don Ethan Miller has studied, taught, and competed. His program for balance has been published as The Tai Chi Way To Better Balance.
Program delivery that emphasizes scalability and affordability: The standard way to disseminate an effective program is to train and certify instructors. This process yields an effective revenue model for the master trainer, but the delivery is expensive for the payer. Compared to the master-trained subjects featured in published studies, the actual outcomes are subject to dilution, with participants learning from “certified” instructors who were prepared by only a few days of balance-specific training.
In order to bring the personalized, expert attentions of a dedicated instructor to a broad community of students, Innovations in Balance will deliver exercises though interactive software, using widely-available hardware, integrated into an affordable and easily-deployed package.
Advanced technologies and experience-design principles: State-of-the-art game hardware can support the recognition and analysis of a user’s skeletal alignment, posture, and movements. Our software-development partners, Infrared5, are expert in these technologies, and in supporting media-communication infrastructure. Individualized feedback is based on a systemized reduction of the live-training experience.
Although not explicitly a “game”, the Innovations in Balance software will reflect the fact that nobody will be forced to participate, and that compliance only follows from an easy, engaging, and fun experience. This distinction, alone, defines the difference between enterprise software and games: you don’t get fired if you stop playing a game. A commercially-successful game requires more than “pointifying” an experience; success demands an integration of broad-based creative-design skills, tightly-controlled technology development, and sensitivity to the needs of market channels and partners, as well as users. Our CEO and co-founder Dan Scherlis has personally led the production of innovative and award-winning games, including IndyCar Racing, with its cutting-edge realism in graphics and physics, and the Microsoft-published Asheron’s Call, one of the first commercially-successful “massively-multiplayer” (community-driven virtual-world) games. For both those titles, he also managed the development studios, both of which were acquired at high multiples. Dan is now focused on health-delivery software, and is Executive Producer of BreatheFree, a smoking-cessation game now in development, supported by an NIH/NIDA SBIR award.
To talk about Innovations in Balance, please contact us: Balance@netpog.com