Andy Bazler, Nicholas Andrew Lanese



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The goal of this project is to design a performance tricycle for paraplegics whose leg muscles are stimulated to pedal via Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). FES stimulates muscle contraction with small electrical currents and has proven useful in building muscle in patients while relieving soreness and promoting cardiovascular health. An FES-stimulated cyclist produces approximately 25 Watts of power, nearly 20 times less than a typical rider. At these reduced power levels, the challenges of pedaling are amplified. For example, as the pedal follows the traditional circular path, there are portions referred to as dead zones, where neither FES-stimulated leg actively propels the bike forward. One possibility for reducing or eliminating dead zones is to redesign the circular path of the pedaling motion. Bicycles have recently been marketed that feature pedaling mechanisms that employ alternate pedaling motions. In addition to addressing dead zones, these bikes also optimize the muscle capacity of the rider to deliver torque to the wheels. These new bikes achieve alternate pedaling paths through the introduction of more complicated mechanisms including four-bar and ratchet-and-pawl linkages. Such alternates are being considered for the redesign of the performance tricycle piloted by FES-stimulated riders. To investigate possible changes to the tricycle, quasi-static models have been developed for traditional and alternate cycling mechanisms. This allows for a comparison of torque generation between the mechanisms which facilitates selecting the optimal design. Such a tricycle is viewed as beneficial due to the health advantages, improved mobility, and independence created for the end user.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Design of a Trike for Paraplegics Powered By Functional Electrical Stimulation of Leg Muscles