A distributed architecture for activating the peripheral nervous system

J Neural Eng. 2009 Apr;6(2):026001. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/6/2/026001. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


We present a new system for functional electrical stimulation (FES) applications based on networked stimulation units. They embed an advanced analog circuit, which provides multipolar and multiphasic stimulation profiles, and digital circuits, which ensure safety, locally executed programmed profiles, and communication with the master controller. This architecture is thus based on distributed stimulation units (DSU) that need only a two-wire bus to communicate, regardless of the number of poles of each DSU-driven electrode. This structure minimizes the required bandwidth between master and distributed units, increases the safety and stimulation features and decreases the complexity of the surgical approach. We have successfully tested this network-based stimulation architecture on benchtop stimulators. This original approach allows broad exploration of all possible methods to stimulate peripheral nerves, particularly in the goal of restoring the motor function. It provides a powerful research device to determine the optimal, least aggressive and the most efficient way to activate the peripheral nervous system using an implanted FES system that is less invasive than other existing devices.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computers
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation
  • Electrodes
  • Electronics, Medical / instrumentation*
  • Electronics, Medical / methods
  • Equipment Design*
  • Equipment Safety
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Software