Imagine from one day to the next being unable to stand, control your bladder, or bring food to your mouth. Individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) experience this fate. They lose certain aspects of their independence and will typically rely on therapists to help them perform routine, daily tasks for the rest of their lives. Therefore, it is imperative that we investigate ways to help these patients regain lost motor functions and allow them to reestablish their independence. One approach that restores lost motor behaviors following spinal cord injury and other motor pathologies is functional electrical stimulation (FES). FES bypasses a central lesion to restore function to a paralyzed part of the body by electrically stimulating the peripheral nerves and/or muscles below the lesion. Although a promising technology, FES systems have experienced limited success because of the many challenges of artificially controlling the musculoskeletal system. The objective of this thesis is to advance FES systems to restore more natural motor function in SCI patients. We focus our efforts on designing a test platform for FES controller development, evaluating the use of many muscles for FES control, and developing an approach to incorporate complex muscle properties to enhance control. In the end, the contributions of this thesis have the potential to significantly advance human FES systems by influencing how their controllers are designed and tested. This research will help to restore independence to SCI patients, which will relieve economic and psychological strains on both patients and society.
|Advisor:||Tresch, Matthew C.|
|Commitee:||Koerding, Konrad, Lynch, Kevin, Murray, Wendy, Perreault, Eric|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biomedical engineering, Biomechanics, Physiology|
|Keywords:||Control, Feedforward, Functional electrical stimulation, Isometric force, Spinal cord injury|
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