We have designed, built, and tested an apparatus used for investigating the biomechanical response of a novel intradural spinal cord stimulator to the simulated physiological movement of the spinal cord within the thecal sac. In this apparatus, the rostral-caudal displacements of an anthropomorphic spinal cord surrogate can be controlled with a resolution of approximately 0.1% of a target value for up to 107 lateral movement cycles occurring at a repetition rate of 2 Hz. Using this system, we have been able to determine that the restoring force of the stimulator's suspension system works in concert with the frictional coupling between the electrode array and the surrogate to overcome the 0.42 μN inertial force associated with the lateral motion of the array. The result is a positional stability of the array on the surrogate (in air) of better than 0.2 mm over ∼500 000 movement cycles. Design modifications that might lead to improved physiological performance are discussed.
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