For better health and mobility: researchers develop electrostimulation system

06.11.2023 To make it easier for people with limited mobility to move independently and at the same time improve their health, researchers at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH are developing an intelligent functional electrostimulation system that can be integrated into the GO-TRYKE rehabilitation tricycle.

Physical exercise – especially outside in the fresh air – has a positive influence on physical and mental well-being. This also applies to people who are limited in their movement, for example due to a spinal cord injury. To make it easier for them to get around and enable movement of the whole body, GBY AG, founded by BFH lecturer Sebastian Tobler, has developed the GO-TRYKE rehabilitation tricycle and launched it on the market in 2019. The tricycle is designed so that the movement of the arms causes the legs to move asynchronously, which corresponds to a natural movement pattern. In an Innosuisse project, researchers from the rehaLab – the Laboratory for Rehabilitation Engineering – are collaborating with GBY AG to equip the GO-TRYKE with an intelligent electrical stimulation system (iFES). This activates the muscles with electrical impulses so that the legs can actively move.

Even more health benefits

By combining both systems, the researchers want to develop a vehicle that offers users even more health benefits. Exercise thanks to functional electrical stimulation has various advantages for general health: it trains the cardiovascular system, strengthens the muscles, increases bone density and improves breathing, among other things. Activation can be achieved by electrodes on the skin.

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