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IEEE Trans Rehabil Eng. 1999 Sep;7(3):289-300.

Restoration of use of paralyzed limb muscles using sensory nerve signals for state control of FES-assisted walking.

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  • 1Neurokinesiology Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, and School of Engineering Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.


A real-time functional electrical stimulation (FES) state controller was designed that utilized sensory nerve cuff signals from the cat forelimb to control the timing of stimulation of the Palmaris Longus (PalL) muscle during walking on the treadmill. Sensory nerve signals from the median and superficial radial nerves provided accurate, reliable feedback related to foot contact and lift-off which, when analyzed with single threshold Schmitt triggers, produced valuable state information about the step cycle. The study involved three experiments: prediction of the timing of muscle activity in an open-loop configuration with no stimulation, prediction of the timing of muscle activity in a closed-loop configuration that included stimulation of the muscle over natural PaIL electromyogram (EMG), and temporary paralysis of selected forelimb muscles coupled with the use of the state controller to stimulate the PalL in order to return partial support function to the anesthetized limb. The FES state controller was tested in a variety of walking conditions, including different treadmill speeds and slopes. The results obtained in these experiments demonstrate that nerve cuff signals can provide a useful source of feedback to FES systems for control of limb function.

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