Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
Pages 919 — 932
Abstract — Electrical activation of paralyzed musculature can generate or augment joint movements required for walking after central nervous system trauma. Proper timing of stimulation relative to residual volitional control is critical to usefully affecting ambulation. This study evaluates three-dimensional accelerometers and customized algorithms to detect the intent to step from voluntary movements and trigger stimulation during walking in individuals with significantly different etiologies, mobility limitations, manual dexterities, and walking aids. Three individuals with poststroke hemiplegia or partial spinal cord injury exhibiting varying gait deficits were implanted with multichannel pulse generators to provide joint motions at the hip, knee, and ankle. An accelerometer integrated into the external control unit was used to detect heel strike or walker movement, and wireless accelerometers were used to detect crutch strike. Algorithms were developed for each sensor location to detect intent to step to progress through individualized stimulation patterns. Testing these algorithms produced detection accuracies of at least 90% on both level ground and uneven terrain. All participants use their accelerometer-triggered implanted gait systems at home and in the community; the validation/system testing was completed in the hospital. The results demonstrated that safe, reliable, and convenient accelerometer-based step initiation can be achieved regardless of specific gait deficits, manual dexterities, and walking aids.
Key words: accelerometer, gait, neuroprosthesis, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, step, step initiation, stimulation, stroke, trigger.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:03 AM