Improving the Performance of Dynamic Electromyogram-to-Force Models for the Hand-Wrist and Multiple Fingers


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Relating surface electromyogram (EMG) activity to force/torque models is used in many areas including: prosthesis control systems, to regulate direction and speed of movement in reaching and matching tasks; clinical biomechanics, to assess muscle deficiency and effort levels; and ergonomics analysis, to assess risk of work-related injury such as back pain, fatigue and skill tests. This thesis work concentrated on improving the performance of dynamic EMG-to-force models for the hand-wrist and multiple fingers. My contributions include: 1) rapid calibration of dynamic hand-wrist EMG-force models using a minimum number of electrodes, 2) efficiently training two degree of freedom (DoF) hand-wrist EMG-force models, and 3) estimating individual and combined fingertip forces from forearm EMG during constant-pose, force-varying tasks.\nMy calibration approach for hand-wrist EMG-force models optimized three main factors for 1-DoF and 2-DoF tasks: training duration (14, 22, 30, 38, 44, 52, 60, 68, 76 s), number of electrodes (2 through 16), and model forms (subject-specific, DoF-specific, universal). The results show that training duration can be reduced from historical 76 s to 40–60 s without statistically affecting the average error for both 1-DoF and 2-DoF tasks. Reducing the number of electrodes depended on the number of DoFs. One-DoF models can be reduced to 2 electrodes with average test error range of 8.3–9.2% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), depending on the DoF (e.g., flexion-extension, radial-ulnar deviation, pronation-supination, open-close). Additionally, 2-DoF models can be reduced to 6 electrodes with average error of 7.17–9.21 %MVC. Subject-specific models had the lowest error for 1-DoF tasks while DoF-specific and universal were the lowest for 2-DoF tasks.\nIn the EMG-finger project, we studied independent contraction of one, two, three or four fingers (thumb excluded), as well as contraction of four fingers in unison. Using regression, we found that a pseudo-inverse tolerance (ratio of largest to smallest singular value) of 0.01 was optimal. Lower values produced erratic models and higher values produced models with higher errors. EMG-force errors using one finger ranged from 2.5–3.8 %MVC, using the optimal pseudoinverse tolerance. With additional fingers (two, three or four), the average error ranged from 5–8 %MVC. When four fingers contracted in unison, the average error was 4.3 %MVC. Additionally, I participated in two team projects—EMG-force dynamic models about the elbow and relating forearm muscle EMG to finger force during slowly force varying contractions. This work is also described herein.

  • etd-3831
Defense date
  • 2020
Date created
  • 2020-05-14
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