Parameterised swing phase of gait in paraplegics was obtained using surface electrical stimulation of the hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps; the hip flexors were stimulated to obtain a desired hip angle range, the hamstrings to provide foot clearance in the forward swing, and the quadriceps to acquire knee extension at the end of the swing phase. We report on two main aspects; optimisation of the initial stimulation parameters, and parameter adaption (control). The initial stimulation patterns were experimentally optimised in two paraplegic subjects using a controlled stand device, resulting in an initial satisfactory swinging motion in both subjects. Intersubject differences appeared in the mechanical output (torque joint) per muscle group. During a prolonged open-loop controlled trial with the optimised but unregulated stimulation onsets and burst duration for the three muscle groups, the hip angle range per cycle initially increased above the desired value and subsequently decreased below it. The mechanical performance of the hamstrings and quadriceps remained relatively unaffected. A cycle-to-cycle controller was then designed, operating on the basis of the hip angle ranges obtained in previous swings. This controller successfully adapted the burst duration of the hip flexors to maintain the desired hip angle range.
- Functional electrical stimulation
- Lower extremities
- Cycle-to-cycle control