Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Greg R Luecke


Based on World Health Organization (WHO) report, between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer from disabilities caused by spinal cord injuries each year. The result of this study is development of a medical device to restore walking in such patients using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). We selected dogs as our animal subject. This device uses FES to prevent an affected dog with limited walking abilities from falling during walking. The final version of the device includes a sensing core consisted of four Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) attached to the hip, femur, tibia and metatarsus of our test subject. Using this sensory system, the device tracks and measures the hip, knee and hock joint angles in real time. We use a commercial microcontroller as our analytical core to provide suitable stimulation commands and provide appropriate voltage/current for delivery to target muscles. Data from IMUs are received by microcontroller using I2C bus communication. An advanced embedded C code is developed to program the microcontroller. We discuss a method to recognize the swing and stance phases of the dog gait during walking and propose several balancing strategies to be used for gait control during the stance and swing phase before falling occurs. We design and build a robodog to be compatible with the medical device. We use this robot to program and test the different cores of the device. We test our balancing strategies on our bionic test-bed before applying them on an actual animal subject. Results show the device can provide suitable sensing and stimulation control to balance the body of a dog that has limited ambulation abilities.


Copyright Owner

Nazita Taghavi



File Format


File Size

186 pages

Available for download on Thursday, June 16, 2022