Paralysis Technology – FES

music

Each year, traumatic spinal injuries leave thousands of patients without the use of their arms and legs. Today, biomedical engineers are helping some of those patients regain normal hand coordination with an emerging technology called functional electrical stimulation. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“Functional electrical stimulation is using low levels of electrical current to trigger off nerve impulses to make muscles contract. And when those muscles can contract, you can do it in an orderly process to coordinate the actions to get functional movement.”

Cleveland bioengineer Dr. P. Hunter Peckham is a pioneer in the field of functional electrical stimulation. For nearly thirty years he’s been working on a system that lets quadriplegic patients regain the use of their hands with the aid of a device called a neuroprosthesis.

“A neuroprosthesis uses low levels of electrical current to trigger actions of muscles. The Freehand neuroprosthesis provides control of grasp and release for people who have high level spinal cord injuries, and are unable to move their hands to perform activities of daily living – grasping, releasing – so that they can move objects like spoons, and pencils.”

Dr. Peckham’s system allows quadriplegic patients to translate shoulder movements into functional hand movements by sending tiny electrical pulses to the muscles of the hand and arm.

“It extracts an action that the person still has voluntary control of, for example, their motion of their opposite shoulder, and it translates that simple motion of the shoulder into a complex stimulation sequence that provides the grasping and releasing functions. Grasping a pen, a cup, etcetera.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Paralysis Technology - FES

Electrical stimulation is enabling quadriplegic patients to grasp objects.
Air Date:10/14/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

music

Each year, traumatic spinal injuries leave thousands of patients without the use of their arms and legs. Today, biomedical engineers are helping some of those patients regain normal hand coordination with an emerging technology called functional electrical stimulation. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"Functional electrical stimulation is using low levels of electrical current to trigger off nerve impulses to make muscles contract. And when those muscles can contract, you can do it in an orderly process to coordinate the actions to get functional movement."

Cleveland bioengineer Dr. P. Hunter Peckham is a pioneer in the field of functional electrical stimulation. For nearly thirty years he’s been working on a system that lets quadriplegic patients regain the use of their hands with the aid of a device called a neuroprosthesis.

"A neuroprosthesis uses low levels of electrical current to trigger actions of muscles. The Freehand neuroprosthesis provides control of grasp and release for people who have high level spinal cord injuries, and are unable to move their hands to perform activities of daily living - grasping, releasing - so that they can move objects like spoons, and pencils."

Dr. Peckham’s system allows quadriplegic patients to translate shoulder movements into functional hand movements by sending tiny electrical pulses to the muscles of the hand and arm.

"It extracts an action that the person still has voluntary control of, for example, their motion of their opposite shoulder, and it translates that simple motion of the shoulder into a complex stimulation sequence that provides the grasping and releasing functions. Grasping a pen, a cup, etcetera."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music