Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
About the Discipline
Moving paralysed muscles with electrical stimuli
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a technology that uses electrical pulses to excite muscles that are paralysed due to a central nervous system injury. Applying a current through electrodes placed on the skin or through implanted electrodes allows paralysed muscles to move again. Thus, a person whose nerves from the brain to the leg muscles are disconnected due to a spinal cord injury (SCI) can use an intelligent control device to initiate a movement, e.g., a pedalling movement on a bike. New types of electrodes and exact control of the currents make it possible to maximise the pedal force with each rotation while avoiding early muscle fatigue. The use of FES can counteract some of the harmful effects on the musculoskeletal system of the lower limbs after SCI.
Regular FES cycling exercise after spinal cord injuries (SCI) has been proven to lead to positive physiological improvement, such as improvements in bone density, increase in muscle mass, as well as improved cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. FES can also be applied in combination with other assistive technologies such as robotic exoskeletons. This allows the movement control advantages of a robotic device to be combined with the physiological benefits conferred by FES.
The duration or race distance will be extended as compared to past events.
Who can participate?
People with complete paraplegia
Any technology that stimulates the muscular structures of the legs and/or the neural structures of the spinal cord is eligible for participation. The FES stimulators may use control strategies with the aid of sensors that are fitted to the pilot or the bike. Manual triggering of the stimulator is also permitted. For the stimulation of individual muscles or muscle groups, any control strategy or stimulation pattern may be used as long as it is safe for the pilot. Only bikes without motors are permitted. The bike must be powered only by the pilot’s legs and must have brakes.
Information for Teams:
Are you a member of a team or interested in more detailed information, click here.