“Freewheels” is a human adventure held by INRIA, the French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics and supported by HIKOB. Several professionals have decided to join their efforts and expertise (engineering, physiotherapy, medicine) in order to propose a solution for outdoor functional electrical stimulation (FES) adapted to paraplegic people. The FES is a procedure where an electrical current is applied to peripheral nerves that control specific muscles or muscle groups. The use of this technique will enable the athlete to contract its legs muscles to propel a tricycle.
On October, the 8th 2016, a championship for racing pilots with disabilities using advanced assistive devices will be organized in Zurich: the Cybathlon. “Our team will participate to the FES-cycling discipline. Since November the pilot trains and prepares for the competition. Using a wireless electrical stimulator in combination with force and position sensors located on the bike, it will allow to adapt stimulation patterns regarding the force needed and the pedaling cycle. » explains Christine Azevedo, researcher at INRIA.
To optimize the performance of the athlete, 2 inertial measurement units HIKOB FOX were placed on the trike: one on the rear wheel and another one on the pedals. Pedaling cadence, displacement speed and angular position collected by the HIKOB FOX enable the research team to monitor the driver performances and help them to improve muscular activation patterns.
The team is currently working on the adaptation of the bike for competition, the adjustment of stimulation patterns and physical training. The challenge: cover a 750m distance in minimal time.