This study developed a functional cycling system for home use by paraplegics. It is a hybrid system with functional electrical stimulation (FES). In an earlier study, three tasks were completed: (1) determine user needs and potential problems in interface design, (2) interviews with therapists, and (3) questionnaires to the patients. These findings were converted to functional elements (for design of the FES cycling ergometer) and design criteria (for evaluation of the FES-cycling device). The FES device has both hardware and software features. Hardware includes: arm-crank, leg-cycling, guarded thigh holders, protective paddleboard, easy-access battery box and easy wheelchair height adjustment. The wheelchair can roll into a U-shaped track so the patient can exercise while in the wheelchair. A pocket PC-based controller was used for stimulation control of the patient and data acquisition. A better controller was used to adjust the stimulation based on a pre-defined stimulation pattern. The data recorded was wired to a clinic for evaluation of cycling smoothness as well as to redesign the training protocol. Relevance to industry FES has demonstrated many physiological and psychological benefits for patients with spinal cord injuries. This study offers an improved design of the FES-cycling system, including hybrid exercise modes, an improved controller and wireless transmission of data and training protocol, all of which can be used at home to better serve patients with paraplegia.
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