Case study

Walking aid to improve balance

  • Lower limb device used to improve the walking balance of peripheral neuropathy sufferers.
  • Vibration sensation is created when the device detects a loss of sensation in the foot.
  • 8mm vibration motor mounted to the calf and a pressure pad in the shoe.
Home » Case Studies » Walking aid to improve balance


  • Our customer approached us as they had soft-launched a device to support peripheral neuropathy sufferers regain their independence and reduce their risk of falling.
  • They were experiencing inconsistent motor quality and had an unacceptably high number of failures from their existing supplier. The leads on the motors were also prone to snapping.
  • They decided they wanted to replace the current vibration motor with one from a more robust manufacturer and ideally a drop-in replacement.
  • They were looking for a supplier that would be able to run detailed 100% quality checks on their motors prior to shipping.


  • Our application engineering team worked with their in-house engineering team to review the issues they were experiencing and to come up with a practical solution.
  • Our team suggested a similar vibration motor with a much longer lifetime. We also recommended an alternative slightly thicker wire set/leads that had a similar strength along with adding a connector and a sleeve to help prevent breakages.
  • All the motor sets were quality tested ahead of being dispatched to our customer. Our customer then tested batches of motors ahead of installing them in the device.


  • Our engineering team successfully managed to resolve both of the issues as well as add value by recommending a further solution to help prevent the wires from breaking.
  • The product has been relaunched into the market and has been well received by both medical professionals and end users.
  • They have reported a marked reduction in the number of returned devices they are receiving and this has improved their brand reputation.
  • They have asked us to support them with redesigning the device as they value our skills and knowledge.

Project scope

Walking aid to improve the balance of a patient suffering from peripheral neuropathy

Our customer approached us as they had designed and soft-launched an ankle-mounted device for suffers of peripheral neuropathy. The device would send a vibration to the wearer’s ankle, whilst they were walking, every time it detected a loss of sensation in the foot as the loss of sensation can cause the sufferer to lose their balance and suddenly fall.

They were experiencing inconsistent motor quality and an unacceptably high number of motor failures from their existing supplier. This meant that they were having to replace a disproportionately large number of devices free of charge and this was impacting both their reputation and their financial stability. Through our discussions with their in-house engineering team, it also transpired that the motor leads were prone to snapping when the silicon ankle band was stretched. Their current supplier was able to replace the broken leads but was charging what they felt was a disproportionate amount to rectify the issue.

We reviewed the device and disassembled the motor samples they sent us. We discovered that the underlying issue was the motor brushes failing prematurely. We recommended a very similar vibration motor but with longer lifetime brushes and upgraded the wires to a more robust type. We also recommended adding a connector and a sleeve to help prevent wire breakages.

The new vibration motors were tested and the customer found that all their issues had been resolved. After completing additional clinical tests on the device they re-soft launched it using our motors.

Walking aid to support peripheral neuropathy suffers


Designing for application

  • Our customer needed a replacement motor with a longer lifetime and more robust wires as they were experiencing a larger than expected number of product failures.
  • This was leading to them sending out replacement devices free of charge and having a negative impact on their brand reputation.
  • We worked with our customer to diagnose the underlying cause of the motor failure issue.
  • Through our discussions we also came up with a solution to resolve the wire snapping issue.


Manufacturing and testing

  • Our engineers recommended a solution that used a similar vibration motor with a longer lifetime and with slightly thicker connecting wires.
  • We also suggested adding a connector to the motor and encasing it in a sleeve as a way of reducing the risk of wire breakage.
  • They tested the samples we sent them to see if they would perform as needed and if this would resolve the issues they were experiencing.
  • The devices were clinically re-tested to ensure they performed as expected.


Results and relationship

  • The device was relaunched and they have reported a sizeable reduction in the number of faulty devices being returned.
  • Due to our solution being a drop-in replacement, the customer didn’t need to re-engineer any of the housing in the device so there was no downtime on their production line.
  • Due to our engineering team being able to resolve their issues along with adding new connectors and a protective sleeve, they have decided they would like to partner with us for the device re-design.


We manage your risk

We manage your risk through optimised design and rigorous testing, protecting your application and intellectual property, and fulfilling your performance requirements, whilst reducing your lifecycle costs.

Discover more

Industries we serve

At Precision Microdrives we design and manufacture customised electric motors and mechanisms across a number of industries.

Precision Microdrives

Whether you need a motor component, or a fully validated and tested complex mechanism – we’re here to help.