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Describes a closed-loop functional neuromuscular stimulation system that uses afferent neural activity from muscle spindle fibers as feedback for controlling position of the ankle joint. Ankle extension against a load was effected by neural stimulation through a dual channel intrafascicular electrode of a fascicle of the tibial nerve that innervated the gastrocnemius muscle. Ankle joint angle was estimated from recordings of tibialis anterior and lateral gastrocnemius spindle fiber activity made with dual channel intrafascicular electrodes. Experiments were conducted in neurally intact anesthetized cats and in unanesthetized decerebrate cats to demonstrate the feasibility of this system. The system was able to reach and maintain a fixed target ankle position in the presence of a varying external moment ranging in magnitude between 7.3 and 22 N-cm opposing the action of the ankle extensor, as well as track a sinusoidal target ankle position up to a frequency of 1 Hz in the presence of a constant magnitude 22- or 37-N-cm external moment.
Date of Publication: Feb. 1996