FES / Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race



About the Team

In 2019, a group of scientists and students from Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) began to work on the first prototype of a Functional Electric Stimulation (FES) bike, to compete at Cybathlon 2020. Since then, many researchers, students and pilots have been working to improve the device and the performance of the team. The addition of new sensors to improve the feedback from the trike and the study of different stimulation strategies are two of the main novelties introduced by the POLIMI team to be competitive for Cybathlon 2024. Moreover, a usability study was carried out to enhance user involvement in the optimization of the prototype. The aim of the POLIMI team is to increase awareness in society about assistive technologies and their use in daily life thanks to the spotlight offered by the Cybathlon initiative.

About the Pilot

Samuele Maltauro is an Italian pilot from Lecco, where he lives with his family. Less than one year after his accident, in April 2023, Samuele began training with the POLIMI team with great enthusiasm. Participation in the project gives him the possibility to train at a constant pace and to get new incentives. He is happy to be an active member of the team and to support our research.

About the Device

Our device is a FES-controlled recumbent trike, compatible with the Cybathlon rules for the FES Bike Race. It consists of a passive three-wheels trike customized with a magnetic encoder, two sensorized pedals, and neuromuscular electrical stimulators (HASOMED GmbH). A crank-angle based stimulation strategy is used to generate the cycling motion and a Proportional-Integrative controller modulates the stimulation intensity to keep a constant pedalling cadence. A symmetry controller is added to assure a balanced and smooth pedalling movement. The control system runs on a Raspberry Pi 4. Up to 12 different muscle groups can be stimulated and transcutaneous Spinal Cord Stimulation can also be exploited. During the race, the pilot has the possibility to adjust either the stimulation intensity or the target cadence by means of buttons. An Android application for setting training parameters and providing real-time feedback completes the system.   


November 13th 2020, 12:00 am

POLIMIRehaMove - Team Portrait

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