Below is the history of the ADL Balance Trainer. I thought it important to let you know where we are coming from, so here is the story....
In 2014 I was asked to help develop a fall prevention program for a local home health company. During the research part of this project, I found, time and again, that the #1 way to prevent falls was exercise - specifically exercise that challenged balance. As I continued to treat patients as a Physical Therapist (PT), I started noticing how limited our options were for balance exercises: foam, rocker boards (that very few patients could actually stay balanced on), parallel bars, etc. I also noticed patients weren't really enjoying many of these exercises. Additionally, it struck me how little attention was being paid to reaching, but how important it was to activities of daily living - showering, dressing, cleaning, cooking, etc. - it probably shows that my wife is an Occupational Therapist (OT).
I wanted better ways to challenge reaching than setting cones in my hands or on make-shift shelves. I also wanted patients to enjoy exercising more. This sparked the cliche inventor thought, “there had to be a better way.” After searching for this “better way,” I was surprised there weren't any new tools or equipment to to challenge reaching. I sketched out a few ideas while watching Shark Tank, and settled in on one that we really liked.
In July of 2015, I bought some metal and built a prototype in my garage (picture 1). My wife joined in, adding an OT perspective, and helped refine the design. We also added colors and games to bring in fun to exercising. Though rough in appearance, we brought it to our local inpatient rehab hospital for a trial (picture 2). They liked it, gave ideas to make it better, and ended up ordering the first one (picture 3). Fortunately, other therapists and patients have liked it too (picture 4) because we haven’t stopped building them (we did stop making them in my garage).
I haven't found a more functional and engaging tool to train balance in my 20+ years of treating patients. The ADL Balance is a great product - I hope you (and your patients) enjoy it as much as I do (picture 5).
Shane Haas, PT, MSIE, CPE - Inventor of ADL Balance Trainer