Video_1_Design and Assessment of Control Maps for Multi-Channel sEMG-Driven Prostheses and Supernumerary Limbs.MOV
Proportional and simultaneous control algorithms are considered as one of the most effective ways of mapping electromyographic signals to an artificial device. However, the applicability of these methods is limited by the high number of electromyographic features that they require to operate—typically twice as many the actuators to be controlled. Indeed, extracting many independent electromyographic signals is challenging for a number of reasons—ranging from technological to anatomical. On the contrary, the number of actively moving parts in classic prostheses or extra-limbs is often high. This paper faces this issue, by proposing and experimentally assessing a set of algorithms which are capable of proportionally and simultaneously control as many actuators as there are independent electromyographic signals available. Two sets of solutions are considered. The first uses as input electromyographic signals only, while the second adds postural measurements to the sources of information. At first, all the proposed algorithms are experimentally tested in terms of precision, efficiency, and usability on twelve able-bodied subjects, in a virtual environment. A state-of-the-art controller using twice the amount of electromyographic signals as input is adopted as benchmark. We then performed qualitative tests, where the maps are used to control a prototype of upper limb prosthesis. The device is composed of a robotic hand and a wrist implementing active prono-supination movement. Eight able-bodied subjects participated to this second round of testings. Finally, the proposed strategies were tested in exploratory experiments involving two subjects with limb loss. Results coming from the evaluations in virtual and realistic settings show encouraging results and suggest the effectiveness of the proposed approach.