Intelligent Task Assist Device for Motor Control in Cerebral Palsy

Period of Performance: 05/17/2006 - 04/30/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Cleveland Medical Devices, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objective is to design, build, and clinically assess an intelligent device, the PediActive, to assist upper extremity motor control in cerebral palsy (CP). Children with hemiplegic CP often have upper extremity impairments including slowness, weakness, uncoordinated motion, and spasticity. The PediActive should enhance function by automatically complimenting a person's remaining voluntary motor control with functional electrical stimulation (FES) during activities of daily living. The PediActive should provide levels of function unachievable with only voluntary control. The user will not need to learn a new control algorithm. Instead, the user will simply attempt to complete a task. The PediActive will detect subject motion intention and automatically supply stimulation to target muscles to assist the task. The PediActive should ultimately aid CP subjects in completing activities of daily living thereby increasing independence and societal participation. While the ability to complete functional tasks can be compromised in CP, upper extremity motion and muscle activation patterns as they attempt tasks can be quite repeatable. The PediActive will take advantage of these patterns to automatically detect user intention. Therefore, the proposed PediActive will utilize wearable sensing and stimulating technology to automatically modulate FES and improve function. A user worn shirt or sleeve will be embedded with surface electromyography (EMG) electrodes, kinetic sensors, and a stimulator unit. The system will record EMG and kinetic data to determine user movement intention. Movements, coordination patterns, and/or EMG levels will then be used as inputs to train a neural network to output an appropriate level of FES to specific upper extremity muscles. Specifically, the PediActive will automatically detect when a user is attempting arm reach or hand grasp and apply FES to target muscles to assist the task. The PediActive will be an assistive device to improve upper extremity function in children with cerebral palsy. The system will be trained to automatically detect when a user is attempting a task and supply stimulation to target muscles to help the subject complete the task. The system should help subjects complete activities of daily living, thereby increasing their independence and societal participation.