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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31845

Title: Closed-loop Control of Electrically Stimulated Skeletal Muscle Contractions
Authors: Lynch, Cheryl
Advisor: Popovic, Milos R.
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Keywords: functional electrical stimulation
spinal cord injury
closed-loop control
Issue Date: 10-Jan-2012
Abstract: More than one million people are living with spinal cord injury (SCI) in North America alone. Restoring lost motor function can alleviate SCI-related health problems, as well as markedly increase the quality of life enjoyed by individuals with SCI. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) can replace motor function in individuals with SCI by using short electrical pulses to generate contractions in paralyzed muscles. A wide range of FES applications have been proposed, but few application are actually available for community use by SCI consumers. A major factor contributing to this shortage of real-world FES applications is the lack of a feasible closed-loop control algorithm. The purpose of this thesis is to develop a closed-loop control algorithm that is suitable for use in practical FES applications. This thesis consists of three separate studies. The first study examined existing closed-loop control algorithms for FES applications, and showed that a method of testing FES control algorithms under realistic conditions is needed to evaluate their likely real-world performance. The second study provided such a testing method by developing a non-idealities block that can be used to modify the nominal response of electrically stimulated muscle in simulations of FES applications. Fatigue, muscle spasm, and tremor non-idealities are included in the block, which allows the user to specify the severity level for each type of non-ideal behaviour. This nonidealities block was tested in a simulation of electrically induced knee extension against gravity, and showed that the nominal performance of the controllers was substantially better than their performance in the realistic case that included the non-idealities model. The third study concerned the development and testing of a novel observer-based sliding mode control (SMC) algorithm that is suitable for use in real-world FES applications. This algorithm incorporated a fatigue minimization objective as well as co-contraction of the antagonist muscle group to cause the joint stiffness to track a desired value. The SMC algorithm was tested in a simulation of FES-based quiet standing, and the non-idealities block was used to determine the probable performance of the controller in the real world. This novel controller performed very well in simulation, and would be suitable for use in selected practical FES applications. The work contained in this thesis can easily be extended to a wide range of FES applications. This work represents a significant step forward in closed-loop control for FES applications, and will facilitate the development of sophisticated new electrical stimulation systems for use by consumers in their homes and communities.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31845
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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