Development and experimental identification of a biomechanical model of the trunk for functional electrical stimulation control in paraplegia
Vanoncini, M., Holderbaum, W. and Andrews, B. (2008) Development and experimental identification of a biomechanical model of the trunk for functional electrical stimulation control in paraplegia. Neuromodulation, 11 (4). pp. 315-324. ISSN 1094-7159
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Objectives. Theoretic modeling and experimental studies suggest that functional electrical stimulation (FES) can improve trunk balance in spinal cord injured subjects. This can have a positive impact on daily life, increasing the volume of bimanual workspace, improving sitting posture, and wheelchair propulsion. A closed loop controller for the stimulation is desirable, as it can potentially decrease muscle fatigue and offer better rejection to disturbances. This paper proposes a biomechanical model of the human trunk, and a procedure for its identification, to be used for the future development of FES controllers. The advantage over previous models resides in the simplicity of the solution proposed, which makes it possible to identify the model just before a stimulation session ( taking into account the variability of the muscle response to the FES). Materials and Methods. The structure of the model is based on previous research on FES and muscle physiology. Some details could not be inferred from previous studies, and were determined from experimental data. Experiments with a paraplegic volunteer were conducted in order to measure the moments exerted by the trunk-passive tissues and artificially stimulated muscles. Data for model identification and validation also were collected. Results. Using the proposed structure and identification procedure, the model could adequately reproduce the moments exerted during the experiments. The study reveals that the stimulated trunk extensors can exert maximal moment when the trunk is in the upright position. In contrast, previous studies show that able-bodied subjects can exert maximal trunk extension when flexed forward. Conclusions. The proposed model and identification procedure are a successful first step toward the development of a model-based controller for trunk FES. The model also gives information on the trunk in unique conditions, normally not observable in able-bodied subjects (ie, subject only to extensor muscles contraction).