Development of a functional electric stimulation device for footdrop patients:
Compression of peroneal nerve near knee caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy etc. affect gait (walking) performance significantly. Difficulty of dorsiflexion while walking known as foot drop is one of them. A remedial modality of foot drop is Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) in which an artificial electrical stimulation is applied to the common peroneal nerve of the leg at a precise moment and for an appropriate length of time during a walking cycle which allows the person to walk with a better gait. Due to expensive price of the existing FES devices, Professor Rabbani who has a long experience of neuromuscular stimulation and monitoring, initiated the development of an FES device for foot drop with the aim of making it affordable to people in countries like Bangladesh.
We developed FES device based on inertial measurement unit (IMU), as inertia-based algorithm can do fast judgment in unstructured environment and we can use minimal number of electrodes. IMU based on accelerometers is used to sense movement of the knee.
Meanwhile, we also developed an individual device for locating peroneal nerve and associate muscles for better foot dorsiflexion. We developed the necessary interactive user android application to control the stimulation power on/off and stimulation intensity for the user to control the device remotely as dedicated solution for FES foot drop device users. The prototype will be soon tested on patients under supervision of medical specialists.