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J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2013 Jun 19;10(1):62. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-10-62.

Non-weight-bearing neural control of a powered transfemoral prosthesis.

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Center for Bionic Medicine, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, IL, USA.


Lower limb prostheses have traditionally been mechanically passive devices without electronic control systems. Microprocessor-controlled passive and powered devices have recently received much interest from the clinical and research communities. The control systems for these devices typically use finite-state controllers to interpret data measured from mechanical sensors embedded within the prosthesis. In this paper we investigated a control system that relied on information extracted from myoelectric signals to control a lower limb prosthesis while amputee patients were seated. Sagittal plane motions of the knee and ankle can be accurately (>90%) recognized and controlled in both a virtual environment and on an actuated transfemoral prosthesis using only myoelectric signals measured from nine residual thigh muscles. Patients also demonstrated accurate (~90%) control of both the femoral and tibial rotation degrees of freedom within the virtual environment. A channel subset investigation was completed and the results showed that only five residual thigh muscles are required to achieve accurate control. This research is the first step in our long-term goal of implementing myoelectric control of lower limb prostheses during both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing activities for individuals with transfemoral amputation.

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