Electrotactile Feedback for FES-Assisted Swimming

  • C. WiesenerEmail author
  • A. Niedeggen
  • T. Schauer
Conference paper
Part of the Biosystems & Biorobotics book series (BIOSYSROB, volume 21)


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) can be used to support walking and cycling in spinal cord injured individuals. In the current contribution, we present a new method that, for the first time, enables FES-supported swimming in paraplegics. The proposed setup includes a waterproof stimulator, cables, and electrodes. In preliminary experiments, flexion and extension movements of the knee could be generated to support the propulsion during crawling. A synchronization of the voluntary arm and leg movements showed to have a stabilizing effect on the body position of the swimmer in the water, especially on the roll angle. To enable such a synchronized swimming, an electrotactile feedback algorithm was developed that informs the swimmer about the leg movement by a stimulation of sensory unimpaired regions at the back of the subject at a sensory level. The new setup and methods are currently being tested during the STIMSWIM pilot study with paraplegics. In first preliminary results, an improvement of swimming velocity compared to non FES-assisted swimming was observed in the two first subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Control Systems Group of TU BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Treatment Centre for Spinal Cord Injuries, ukb Unfallkrankenhaus BerlinBerlinGermany

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