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Development of a new method to increase the degrees of freedom of myoelectric upper-limb prostheses and construction of a new neuromuscular model to improve their controllability

Final Activity Report Summary - ADCOMP (Development of a new method to increase the degrees of freedom of myoelectric upper-limb prostheses and construction of a new neuromuscular model ...)

In spite of highly sophisticated robotic hands currently available (some of them nearly as dexterous as the human hand), hand prostheses commercially available are still quite simple device that features only one or two degrees of freedom (controllable joints). This is due to the fact that there is not yet a natural an intuitive way of controlling them, being normally necessary a computer to take care of their operation.

A possibility to overcome this problem is to use the tiny electrical signals produced by active muscles (electromyogram - EMG); but the EMG signal coming from one muscles is disturbed by the signals coming from adjacent muscles, so it is not clear enough as to use it for controlling.

The proposed solution consists in the use of advanced signal processing techniques to obtain a clear and well-defined EMG signal from each muscle. The results obtained were quite promising, but not robust enough yet as to be of use for the daily control of a prosthetic hand. Further research is needed.