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J Neural Eng. 2011 Feb;8(1):016009. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/8/1/016009. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Mimicking muscle activity with electrical stimulation.

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Department of Physiology and Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona Tucson, AZ, USA.


Functional electrical stimulation is a rehabilitation technology that can restore some degree of motor function in individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury or stroke. One way to identify the spatio-temporal patterns of muscle stimulation needed to elicit complex upper limb movements is to use electromyographic (EMG) activity recorded from able-bodied subjects as a template for electrical stimulation. However, this requires a transfer function to convert the recorded (or predicted) EMG signals into an appropriate pattern of electrical stimulation. Here we develop a generalized transfer function that maps EMG activity into a stimulation pattern that modulates muscle output by varying both the pulse frequency and the pulse amplitude. We show that the stimulation patterns produced by this transfer function mimic the active state measured by EMG insofar as they reproduce with good fidelity the complex patterns of joint torque and joint displacement.

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