The Cleveland FES Center was established in 1991 as a consortium between the Cleveland VA Medical Center (CVAMC), the private educational institution of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), and the public hospital system of MetroHealth Medical Center (MHMC).
As part of this consortium, Dr. Hunter Peckham – biomedical engineering professor at Case Western Reserve University – and his group have developed the Networked Neuroprosthetic System (NNPS), which is based on a network of small implanted modules they call “neuroprosthetic building blocks”. These modules are distributed throughout the body, and each is dedicated to a specific function. Modules are linked to a centralized power source via a network cable through which they also communicate with each other.
The advantages of the NNPS over traditional FES systems is that the neuroprosthesis capacity can be tailored to the individual’s needs. That is, the implanted hardware is scalable from simple to complex applications, and multiple disabilities can be addressed in a single individual. Furthermore, the system is upgradeable to accommodate future technologies, and it is adaptable to the changing needs of the user.