Cyberthoses for the paralyzed
“Robotic assistance offers the possibility of performing therapeutic mobilization treatments on paralyzed people. The LSRO is working on a challenging locomotor re-education project that combines functional orthoses and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES): the “Cyberthoses” project.
Palsy can be traced back to a lesion of the Central Nervous System (CNS). The effects are: immobility and serious medical complications. The latter can be prevented by a mobilization of the paralyzed limbs and by maintaining the musculature with physiotherapeutic exercises or fitness training. New ways of training are now available; these are based on neuromuscular stimulation or Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). To be effective, such training must stimulate the muscles in a pattern that is as natural as possible, and the forces have to be equivalent to those encountered during natural activity. The kinematics and dynamics of the articular displacements generated by the FES must be close to the physiological movements.
Closed-loop control of the electrically-stimulated muscular contractions is thus mandatory for the realization of complex and repetitive movements such as cycling and leg-press. Such control is achieved by combining FES with an orthosis equipped with motors and sensors. The benefit of this technique is the achievement of a progressive and active muscular participation. Thus, prevention of the problems linked to palsy, and the enhancement of the re-education of the affected limbs, is achieved.
MotionMaker: a stationary device for the mobilization of lower limbs; associating functional orthoses and FES.