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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 41 Number 1, January/February 2004
Pages 41 — 52


Abstract - A portable, 8-channel transcutaneous stimulator for paraplegic muscle training and mobility-A technical note

Scott Simcox, MSEE; Glen Davis, PhD, FACSM; Andrew Barriskill, MBA; James Middleton, MBBS, PhD;
Ian Bruinsma, BEE; Michael Duncan, BEE; Richard Smith, PhD

Rehabilitation Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Neopraxis Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia; Moroong Spinal Unit, Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, Ryde, Australia; School of Exercise and Sports Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Abstract — This paper introduces an 8-channel transcutaneous neuromuscular stimulator, called ExoStim, which was designed and developed to provide stimulation to the lower- limb muscles of spinal cord injured individuals. The intended purposes of the ExoStim were to act as a skin-surface precursor to an implantable neuromuscular stimulator for the specific tasks of increasing paralyzed leg strength and endurance, enabling the performance of basic lower-limb functional tasks, and familiarizing patients with functional electrical stimulation training. The initial design specifications included portability (~500 g), battery-powered output, constant current control (0-300 mA), 8 channels of biphasic stimulation (charge-balanced, constant current), and microprocessor control of all stimulation parameters. Various tests, including output power characteristics, environmental, mechanical, and battery life, were performed on three prototype units to validate our design specifications. Having successfully passed all tests, the ExoStim is now ready to be deployed to clinical trial sites for further evaluation with spinal cord injured subjects.
Key words: functional electrical stimulation, neuromuscular stimulator, paraplegia.

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