A six-channel lightweight, portable and computer-controlled stimulator for the functional activation of paraplegic patients is described. To enable programming of the various functions, the stimulator was designed to work in a remote-control mode hosted by an IBM PC or compatible computer, in addition to its normally used local mode. The stimulus parameters, including current intensity, stimulus frequency and pulse width, are individually adjustable and programmable for each channel. The power source is 12 V 500 mAh-1, from 10 rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries, with a run time of 1.5 h for a load of 200 mA in four channels. Various training programmes for the activation of paraplegics in the sitting, standing and walking positions are described. The final design of the stimulator is based on experience gained from 25 patients, treated and evaluated during the course of development. Ongoing work including clinical, biomechanical and physiological studies is carried out to evaluate performance of the activated patients and to optimize stimulation. © 1993.
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