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Title: Improving sitting posture in paraplegia via functional electrical stimulation
Author: Vanoncini, Michele
ISNI:       0000 0001 3542 6595
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
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This study is an experimental investigation on the application of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to the trunk muscles in paraplegic subjects. The aim is to improve trunk balance during reaching/grasping activities, and to explore a potential use of FES for the prevention of pressure sores. The research comprises three parts: the development of a model of the human trunk, the synthesis of closed loop controllers for the stimulation, and the use of FES for pressure sore prevention. Biomechanical models of the trunk, available from previous studies, are not appropriate for the synthesis of FES controllers. They are difficult to identify due to the high number of prameters, and hence cannot be taken into account the daily variations of the muscle response to the stimulation. This study proposes a novel approach, based on a simple model, which can be identified prior to any stimulation session. The investigation on automatic control of FES aims at trunk stabilisation and rejection of disturbances. Two regulators are considered: a Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) and a Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR). The results show that a development by trial and error of a PID controller is feasible, and hence should be considered in practical applications. The study also shows that the simple model previously developed and be employed in the synthesis of an LQR controller. Finally, the study considers the stimulation of the trunk extensors as a tool for pressure sore prevention. This is a novel FES application, potentially more practical than the stimulation of the gluteal or quadriceps muscles, proposed by other authors. The experimental study described in this thesis shows that the stimulation of the trunk extensors can be used to induce a periodic change of the pressure distribution on the buttocks, and hence can potentially be employed as a tool for prevention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available