Evaluation of an Instrumented Sleeve for Myoelectrically-Triggered Functional Electrical Therapy: Indo-German Stroke Study

Anirban Dutta, Asokan Thondiyath, and Alakananda Banerjee


myoelectric, functional electrical stimulation, foot-drop, stroke, motor rehabilitation


Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) involves electrical stimulation of nerves and muscles with continuous short pulses of electrical current at a certain pulse rate (or frequency) in a coordinated fashion to improve functional movement of limbs during walking. NMES triggered by the motor-signal enforces volitional effort in conjunction with NMES-assisted action of the synergistic muscles which may facilitate motor re-learning and long-term therapeutic benefits. Our overarching goal is to evaluate a NMES-based Functional Electrical Therapy (FET) protocol for ankle rehabilitation following stroke in survivors suffering from foot-drop. The focus of this study is development of a low-cost, easy to don/doff, Electromyogram (EMG)-triggered NMES device for FET. We performed a cutaneous sensation test for our low-cost saline-soaked sponge electrodes which were designed to be integrated in an instrumented sleeve. We also evaluated the classification accuracy of an EMG-classifier based on the the signals derived from low-cost stainless-steel EMG-electrodes which were aslo integrated in the instrumented sleeve. We could conclude from our feasibility study that the threshold-based EMG classifier presented a high false positive rate of around 4%, and a lower electrode conductivity of the stimulating saline-soaked sponge electrode reduced prickle sensation at the edges. The high false positive rate can easily be reduced to zero if EMG in conjunction with heel-switch triggers the NMES during FET which is our new classifier for future studies.

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