Addison Rich (MASc): Integrating Functional Electrical Stimulation with Robotics for Stroke Therapy

January 24, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Rosebrugh Building
Rosebrugh Bldg, Toronto, ON M5S 3G9

Room: RS 211


Stroke is a major public health concern. Sufferers often lose the ability to control one of their arms effectively due to neurological damage, and rehabilitation efforts have focused on improving the functional abilities of stroke survivors’ affected arm. Robotics and functional electrical stimulation (FES) have been successfully used in rehabilitation settings. Robotics allows for precise, automated therapy, provides feedback, and tracks the patient’s performance. FES induces functional movements by supplying electrical stimulation. This stimulation provides sensorimotor feedback which helps rebuild damaged neurological pathways. It is hypothesized that these modalities could be combined into one ‘hybrid’ system with improved rehabilitation outcomes than either therapy alone.
Our lab has developed a robotic device for upper limb rehabilitation. The overall objective is to control an FES device with this robot, such that electrical stimulation is provided to the patient at optimal times during therapy sessions to improve rehabilitation.
The study will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will model therapists’ tacit knowledge and the decision-making criteria used during manual FES therapy. The model will be used as a basis for the robot’s FES control system in order to simulate therapist-mediated FES therapy. In the second phase, we will implement the model in the robot’s software, and then validate the hybrid system by comparing the robot’s FES control decisions to those of therapists’. These results will help to determine system candidacy for further clinical studies.