Hand gesture and grip formations are produced by the muscle synergies arising between extrinsic and intrinsic hand muscles and many functional hand movements involve repositioning of the thumb relative to other digits. In this study we explored whether changes in thumb posture in able-body volunteers can be identified and classified from the modulation of forearm muscle surface-electromyography (sEMG) alone without reference to activity from the intrinsic musculature. In this proof-of-concept study, our goal was to determine if there is scope to develop prosthetic hand control systems that may incorporate myoelectric thumb-position control. Healthy volunteers performed a controlled-isometric grip task with their thumb held in four different opposing-postures. Grip force during task performance was maintained at 30% maximal-voluntary-force and sEMG signals from the forearm were recorded using 2D high-density sEMG (HD-sEMG arrays). Correlations between sEMG amplitude and root-mean squared estimates with variation in thumb-position were investigated using principal-component analysis and self-organizing feature maps. Results demonstrate that forearm muscle sEMG patterns possess classifiable parameters that correlate with variations in static thumb position (accuracy of 88.25 ± 0.5% anterior; 91.25 ± 2.5% posterior musculature of the forearm sites). Of importance, this suggests that in transradial amputees, despite the loss of access to the intrinsic muscles that control thumb action, an acceptable level of control over a thumb component within myoelectric devices may be achievable. Accordingly, further work exploring the potential to provide myoelectric control over the thumb within a prosthetic hand is warranted.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology|
|Early online date||22 May 2019|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2019|