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J Neural Eng. 2015 Dec;12(6):066022. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/12/6/066022. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Sensor fusion and computer vision for context-aware control of a multi degree-of-freedom prosthesis.

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Department of Translational Research and Knowledge Management, Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, D-37115 Duderstadt, Germany.



Myoelectric activity volitionally generated by the user is often used for controlling hand prostheses in order to replicate the synergistic actions of muscles in healthy humans during grasping. Muscle synergies in healthy humans are based on the integration of visual perception, heuristics and proprioception. Here, we demonstrate how sensor fusion that combines artificial vision and proprioceptive information with the high-level processing characteristics of biological systems can be effectively used in transradial prosthesis control.


We developed a novel context- and user-aware prosthesis (CASP) controller integrating computer vision and inertial sensing with myoelectric activity in order to achieve semi-autonomous and reactive control of a prosthetic hand. The presented method semi-automatically provides simultaneous and proportional control of multiple degrees-of-freedom (DOFs), thus decreasing overall physical effort while retaining full user control. The system was compared against the major commercial state-of-the art myoelectric control system in ten able-bodied and one amputee subject. All subjects used transradial prosthesis with an active wrist to grasp objects typically associated with activities of daily living.


The CASP significantly outperformed the myoelectric interface when controlling all of the prosthesis DOF. However, when tested with less complex prosthetic system (smaller number of DOF), the CASP was slower but resulted with reaching motions that contained less compensatory movements. Another important finding is that the CASP system required minimal user adaptation and training.


The CASP constitutes a substantial improvement for the control of multi-DOF prostheses. The application of the CASP will have a significant impact when translated to real-life scenarious, particularly with respect to improving the usability and acceptance of highly complex systems (e.g., full prosthetic arms) by amputees.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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