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External Sensors for Detecting the Activation and Deactivation Times of the Major Muscles Used in Walking

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6 Author(s)
Lovse, L. ; Med. Sch., Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada ; Bobet, J. ; Roy, F.D. ; Rolf, R.
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Functional electrical stimulation (FES) can improve walking in individuals with mobility impairments. We evaluated accelerometers, force sensitive resistors, segment angles, and segment angular velocities to identify which sensor best determines the activation and deactivation times of the main muscles used during walking. This sensor(s) can be used in the future in conjunction with FES systems to improve walking. Able-bodied subjects walked at various speeds. Threshold levels were set for each sensor that minimized the difference between the times of activating and deactivating the electromyogram (EMG) of six muscles and the times of sensor threshold crossings as a percent of the step cycle. Mobility-impaired subjects walked at their preferred speed with and without FES to correct foot drop. Thresholds were set for these subjects so that sensor signals would cross at times that matched those of able-bodied subjects. Segment angles were generally the most effective sensor signals. Using segment angles of the thigh, shank, and foot, activation and deactivation times of the six muscles could be determined to within 6% of the step cycle. The shank segment angle produced the lowest overall error and was among the top three sensors for 10 of the 12 events (activation and deactivation of six muscle groups). A segment angle sensor was implemented using a complementary filter (accelerometer/gyroscope combination). Using this sensor improved rule-based timing of FES in subjects with foot drop as compared to accelerometers alone.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

July 2012

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