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IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2017 Jul;21(4):967-977. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2016.2642837. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Wireless sEMG-Based Body-Machine Interface for Assistive Technology Devices.


Assistive technology (AT) tools and appliances are being more and more widely used and developed worldwide to improve the autonomy of people living with disabilities and ease the interaction with their environment. This paper describes an intuitive and wireless surface electromyography (sEMG) based body-machine interface for AT tools. Spinal cord injuries at C5-C8 levels affect patients' arms, forearms, hands, and fingers control. Thus, using classical AT control interfaces (keypads, joysticks, etc.) is often difficult or impossible. The proposed system reads the AT users' residual functional capacities through their sEMG activity, and converts them into appropriate commands using a threshold-based control algorithm. It has proven to be suitable as a control alternative for assistive devices and has been tested with the JACO arm, an articulated assistive device of which the vocation is to help people living with upper-body disabilities in their daily life activities. The wireless prototype, the architecture of which is based on a 3-channel sEMG measurement system and a 915-MHz wireless transceiver built around a low-power microcontroller, uses low-cost off-the-shelf commercial components. The embedded controller is compared with JACO's regular joystick-based interface, using combinations of forearm, pectoral, masseter, and trapeze muscles. The measured index of performance values is 0.88, 0.51, and 0.41 bits/s, respectively, for correlation coefficients with the Fitt's model of 0.75, 0.85, and 0.67. These results demonstrate that the proposed controller offers an attractive alternative to conventional interfaces, such as joystick devices, for upper-body disabled people using ATs such as JACO.

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