Indexed on: 11 May '16Published on: 11 May '16Published in: IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering : a publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
Decoding finger and hand movements from sEMG electrodes placed on the forearm of transradial amputees has been commonly studied by many research groups. A few recent studies have shown an interesting phenomenon: simple correlations between distal phantom finger, hand and wrist voluntary movements and muscle activity in the residual upper arm in transhumeral amputees, i.e., of muscle groups that, prior to amputation, had no physical effect on the concerned hand and wrist joints. In this study, we are going further into the exploration of this phenomenon by setting up an evaluation study of phantom finger, hand, wrist and elbow (if present) movement classification based on the analysis of surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals measured by multiple electrodes placed on the residual upper arm of 5 transhumeral amputees with a controllable phantom limb who did not undergo any reinnervation surgery. We showed that with a state-of-the-art classification architecture, it is possible to correctly classify phantom limb activity (up to 14 movements) with a rather important average success (over 80% if considering basic sets of 6 hand, wrist and elbow movements) and to use this pattern recognition output to give online control of a device (here a graphical interface) to these transhumeral amputees. Beyond changing the way the phantom limb condition is apprehended by both patients and clinicians, such results could pave the road towards a new control approach for transhumeral amputated patients with a voluntary controllable phantom limb. This could ease and extend their control abilities of functional upper limb prosthetics with multiple active joints without undergoing muscular reinnervation surgery.