Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 192097, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/192097
Research Article

Inverted Pendulum Standing Apparatus for Investigating Closed-Loop Control of Ankle Joint Muscle Contractions during Functional Electrical Stimulation

1Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3G9
2Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, 520 Sutherland Drive, Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 3V9
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, 4-9 Mechanical Engineering Building, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G8
4Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Alberta Health Services, 10230-111 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5G 0B7
5Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1

Received 13 June 2014; Revised 28 August 2014; Accepted 8 September 2014; Published 29 October 2014

Academic Editor: Silvia Conforto

Copyright © 2014 John F. Tan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The restoration of arm-free standing in individuals with paraplegia can be facilitated via functional electrical stimulation (FES). In developing adequate control strategies for FES systems, it remains challenging to test the performance of a particular control scheme on human subjects. In this study, we propose a testing platform for developing effective control strategies for a closed-loop FES system for standing. The Inverted Pendulum Standing Apparatus (IPSA) is a mechanical inverted pendulum, whose angular position is determined by the subject’s ankle joint angle as controlled by the FES system while having the subject’s body fixed in a standing frame. This approach provides a setup that is safe, prevents falling, and enables a research and design team to rigorously test various closed-loop controlled FES systems applied to the ankle joints. To demonstrate the feasibility of using the IPSA, we conducted a case series that employed the device for studying FES closed-loop controllers for regulating ankle joint kinematics during standing. The utilized FES system stimulated, in able-bodied volunteers, the plantarflexors as they prevent toppling during standing. Four different conditions were compared, and we were able to show unique performance of each condition using the IPSA. We concluded that the IPSA is a useful tool for developing and testing closed-loop controlled FES systems for regulating ankle joint position during standing.