Quantitative Imaging of Peripheral Nerves
In 2005-2008 Faisal Beg, Andy Hoffer and Eli Gibson developed a non-invasive, non-traumatic method to visualize and precisely determine the locations and branching patterns of peripheral nerves inside a human limb and to measure the perimeters and cross-sectional areas of nerve branches. As a result of this research, we are able to analyze 3-D images of peripheral nerves in patients scheduled for surgical implantation of neuroprosthetic devices and establish whether surgeons will have sufficient space to attach devices to specific nerves.

Transvascular Phrenic Nerve Stimulation for Diaphragm Pacing
Critically ill patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU) are frequently kept alive with mechanical ventilation (MV). Unfortunately, MV contributes to respiratory infections, longer hospital stays, poor prognosis for recovery and high cost of care. MV patients have difficulty breathing again, because during mechanical ventilation, the diaphragm muscle undergoes very rapid disuse atrophy. Our aim is to develop a simple, minimally invasive, reversible method for electrical activation of the diaphragm in ICU patients who need mechanical ventilation, so that they may breathe diaphragmatically again.

Biomechanical Energy Harvester
In 2005-2007 Max Donelan and Andy Hoffer received a grant from the NSERC I2I (Idea to Innovation) program to develop a proof-of-concept human power harvesting device that converts movement energy into electrical energy, at little or no additional metabolic cost to the user. In collaboration with Dr. Qingguo Li we successfully designed, constructed and tested a novel harvester prototype mounted on a knee brace that generates about 5 watts of continuous power during level walking. In 2006 we submitted patents and in 2007 a paper to Science (published 8 Feb 2008) and founded a new SFU spin-off company, Bionic Power Inc. to develop commercial harvesters. Anticipated fields of use include portable battery-powered electronic devices and biomedical devices (wearable and implanted).

Neurostep™ implanted assistive system for walking
The Neurostep™ is a pacemaker-like assistive device that is permanently implanted inside the thigh. It is the only medical device to date that uses implanted nerve cuffs to both sense nerve activity and stimulate paralyzed muscles in the disabled leg. The Neurostep™ circuitry detects when the foot contacts the ground and times the activation of muscles that lift the foot, in order to enable walking movements in people suffering from neurological disabilities such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy, providing a means for greater independence and a healthier lifestyle. Andy Hoffer and his SFU Neurokinesiology Lab team pioneered the design and uses of nerve cuff electrodes, developed specialized amplifiers, patented assistive-device designs and applications and, in 1997, created a spin-off company, Neurostream Technologies, which designed, developed and tested the Neurostep™ prototype device in the first patient. Neurostream was bought by Victhom Human Bionics in 2004. Andy Hoffer serves on Victhom's scientific advisory board and as a consultant on Neurostep product development and clinical validation. In February, 2009, Victhom obtained CE Mark approval for the Neurostep™ System, the first approval of its kind for a closed-loop system that uses signals sensed directly from peripheral nerves. The approval makes way for marketing of the Neurostep throughout Europe later in 2009.

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