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Title: Activation of Superficial and Deep Finger Flexors through Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation
Objective: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a common technique to elicit muscle contraction and help improve muscle strength. Traditional FES over the muscle belly typically only activates superficial muscle regions. In the case of hand FES, this prevents the activation of the deeper flexor muscles which control the distal finger joints. Here, we evaluated whether an alternative transcutaneous nerve-bundle stimulation approach can activate both superficial and deep extrinsic finger flexors using a high-density stimulation grid. Methods: Transverse ultrasound of the forearm muscles was used to obtain cross-sectional images of the underlying finger flexors during stimulated finger flexions and kinematically-matched voluntary motions. Finger kinematics were recorded, and an image registration method was used to capture the large deformation of the muscle regions during each flexion. This deformation was used as a surrogate measure of the contraction of muscle tissue, and the regions of expanding tissue can identify activated muscles. Results: The nerve-bundle stimulation elicited contractions in the superficial and deep finger flexors. Both separate and concurrent activation of these two muscles were observed. Joint kinematics of the fingers also matched the expected regions of muscle contractions. Conclusions: Our results showed that the nerve-bundle stimulation technique can activate the deep extrinsic finger flexors, which are typically not accessible via traditional surface FES. Significance: Our nerve-bundle stimulation method enables us to produce the full range of motion of different joints necessary for various functional grasps, which could benefit future neuroprosthetic applications.  more » « less
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IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
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1 to 1
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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