The Rehabilitation Technology Laboratory promotes research and development in the field of Human Motor Control. The aim is to provide facilities for people with motor impairments to replace or substitute lost motor functions, such as limb movements. A special technology is the functional electrical muscle stimulation (FES). Using this technology spinal cord injured individuals, whose limb became paralysed, are able to produce active muscle forces and execute certain limb movements. The muscles are stimulated by electrodes placed on the skin above the muscles and a multichannel stimulator device sends electrical signals to the electrodes. This controller device can be programmed to apply appropriate stimulation patterns for generating desired movements.
A special program is implemented in cooperation with the National Institute for Medical Rehabilitation in Budapest. Spinal cord injured, lower limb paralysed people are participating in trainings in which they are cycling on a stationary bike using functional electrical stimulation. In this way they are able to generate active muscle forces and drive the bike by their own muscles what they would not be able to do otherwise. These excercises strengthen their muscles and are advantageous for their respiratory and cardiovascular systems and have an invaluable psychological benefit, since they see that they are able to make active movements by their own muscles even if the motor command is artificial and it is coming from an electrical device rather than from the brain.
We aim to conduct research on other fields of human motor control as well, like human –machine interfaces, when residual motor functions are measured and used to control lost motor functions or external devices. We study kinematic, dynamic and electromyographic properties of movements of able bodied people and these studies are applied in development of medical rehabilitation technologies.