Nicholas Andrew Lanese


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process. Course: MEE 498



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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 inactive zones, where neither FES-stimulated leg actively propels the cycle forward. One possibility for reducing or eliminating inactive zones is to redesign the circular path of the pedaling motion. Bicycles have recently been marketed that feature mechanisms that employ alternate pedaling motions. In addition to addressing inactive zones, these bikes also optimize the muscle capacity of the rider to deliver torque to the wheels. The alternative pedaling paths are achieved in our tricycle design optimization by developing quasi-static models to explore traditional, crank rocker, and coupler-driver mechanisms. These mechanisms allow for a comparison of torque generation which facilitates selecting the optimal design. Rider comfort and muscle capability are future steps taken for FES riders on the optimal design. Such a tricycle is seen to be beneficial for the health, mobility, and independence of the end user.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

Design of a Performance Tricycle for Persons with Paraplegia Powered By Functional Electrical Stimulation of Leg Muscles