High-density force myography: A possible alternative for upper-limb prosthetic control

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Rehabilitation Research and Development Service


Several multiple degree-of-freedom upper-limb prostheses that have the promise of highly dexterous control have recently been developed. Inadequate controllability, however, has limited adoption of these devices. Introducing more robust control methods will likely result in higher acceptance rates. This work investigates the suitability of using high-density force myography (HD-FMG) for prosthetic control. HD-FMG uses a high-density array of pressure sensors to detect changes in the pressure patterns between the residual limb and socket caused by the contraction of the forearm muscles. In this work, HD-FMG outperforms the standard electromyography (EMG)-based system in detecting different wrist and hand gestures. With the arm in a fixed, static position, eight hand and wrist motions were classified with 0.33% error using the HD-FMG technique. Comparatively, classification errors in the range of 2.2%–11.3% have been reported in the literature for multichannel EMG-based approaches. As with EMG, position variation in HD-FMG can introduce classification error, but incorporating position variation into the training protocol reduces this effect. Channel reduction was also applied to the HD-FMG technique to decrease the dimensionality of the problem as well as the size of the sensorized area. We found that with informed, symmetric channel reduction, classification error could be decreased to 0.02%.