Abstract

This paper presents a novel functional electrical stimulation paradigm to generate locomotion in paraplegic patients. We propose a closed-loop surface functional electrical stimulation (sFES) of 16 lower-limb muscles to produce all subphases of the gait. The reproduction of cyclic and coordinated joint-movements is a challenge, especially if synchronic and synergic lower-limbs muscular contraction is considered. This paper presents the implementation and validation of a sFES closed-loop position control and the pilot clinical tests with a chronic, motor complete (ASIA B) SCI patient. We demonstrate that the patient can safely use our setup to produce a physiologically correct gait with minimal external help. The implemented sFES-gait training was beneficial to see an improvement in gait kinematics. The integration of the proposed setup with a neurorehabilitation protocol has the potential to become a valuable locomotion therapy for SCI patients.

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