In 2020, the 4 year old daughter of our research mentor suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in motor and cognitive disability. The goal of our project is to restore the patient’s ability to grasp objects with her left hand. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) invovles the electrical stimulation of muscles for the purpose of regaining certain motor function (e.g. hand grasping, arm extension,…etc…). Although there has been research in using FES to help stroke patients recover more quickly, little research on the usefuleness of FES on children has been conducted. Moreover, the effectiveness of FES on a child patient over a year past the trauma event is unknown.
Our current approach involves two components: a neural decoder and FES stimulator. The neural decoder takes the EMG signal as input and infers whether the patient is trying to open or close her hand. The FES stimulator then applies a stream of electrical pulses to stimulate the muscles to open.