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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 275-292
Research Article

An Automatic Identification Procedure to Promote the use of FES-Cycling Training for Hemiparetic Patients

Emilia Ambrosini,1,2 Simona Ferrante,1 Thomas Schauer,3 Giancarlo Ferrigno,1 Franco Molteni,4 and Alessandra Pedrocchi1

1NearLab, Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, NeuroEngineering and Medical Robotics Laboratory, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133, Milano, Italy
2Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit, Scientific Institute of Lissone, Institute of Care and Research, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation IRCCS, Lissone, Italy
3Control Systems Group, Technische Universität Berlin, Einsteinufer 17, D-10587 Berlin, Germany
4Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center, Valduce Hospital, Via Nazario Sauro 17, 23845 Costa Masnaga, Lecco, Italy

Received 1 September 2013; Accepted 1 June 2014

Copyright © 2014 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Cycling induced by Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) training currently requires a manual setting of different parameters, which is a time-consuming and scarcely repeatable procedure. We proposed an automatic procedure for setting session-specific parameters optimized for hemiparetic patients. This procedure consisted of the identification of the stimulation strategy as the angular ranges during which FES drove the motion, the comparison between the identified strategy and the physiological muscular activation strategy, and the setting of the pulse amplitude and duration of each stimulated muscle. Preliminary trials on 10 healthy volunteers helped define the procedure. Feasibility tests on 8 hemiparetic patients (5 stroke, 3 traumatic brain injury) were performed. The procedure maximized the motor output within the tolerance constraint, identified a biomimetic strategy in 6 patients, and always lasted less than 5 minutes. Its reasonable duration and automatic nature make the procedure usable at the beginning of every training session, potentially enhancing the performance of FES-cycling training.