FITFES: A Wearable Myoelectrically Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulator Designed Using a User-Centered Approach

Marco Crepaldi, Rune Thorsen, Johanna Jonsdottir, Silvia Scarpetta, Lorenzo De Michieli, Mirco Di Salvo, Giorgio Zini, Matteo Laffranchi, Maurizio Ferrarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myoelectrically Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation (MeCFES) has proven to be a useful tool in the rehabilitation of the hemiplegic arm. This paper reports the steps involved in the development of a wearable MeCFES device (FITFES) through a user-centered design. We defined the minimal viable features and functionalities requirements for the device design from a questionnaire-based survey among physiotherapists with experience in functional electrical stimulation. The result was a necklace layout that poses minimal hindrance to task-oriented movement therapy, the context in which it is aimed to be used. FITFES is battery-powered and embeds a standard low power Bluetooth module, enabling wireless control by using PC/Mobile devices vendor specific built-in libraries. It is designed to deliver a biphasic, charge-balanced stimulation current pulses of up to 113 mA with a maximum differential voltage of 300 V. The power consumption for typical clinical usage is 320 mW at 20mA stimulation current and of less than 10 μW in sleep mode, thus ensuring an estimated full day of FITFES therapy on a battery charge. We conclude that a multidisciplinary user-centered approach can be successfully applied to the design of a clinically and ergonomically viable prototype of a wearable myoelectrically controlled functional electrical stimulator to be used in rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Electrodes
  • Electromyography
  • EMG
  • Ergonomics
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation
  • Iron
  • Muscles
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Stroke (medical condition)
  • Task analysis
  • User-Centered Design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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