EMG-based Simultaneous Estimations of Joint Angle and Torque during Hand Interactions with Environments
It is necessary to control contact force through modulation of joint stiffness in addition to the position of our limb when manipulating an object. This is achieved by contracting the agonist muscles in an appropriate magnitude, as well as, balancing it with contraction of the antagonist muscles. Here we develop a decoding technique that estimates both the position and torque of a joint of the limb in interaction with an environment based on activities of the agonist-antagonistic muscle pairs using electromyography in real time. The long short-term memory (LSTM) network that is capable of learning time series of a long-time span with varying time lags is employed as the core processor of the proposed technique. We tested both the unidirectional LSTM network and bidirectional LSTM network. A validation was conducted on the wrist joint moving along a given trajectory under resistance generated by a robot. The decoding approach provided an agreement of greater than 93% in kinetics (i.e. torque) estimation and an agreement of greater than 83% in kinematics (i.e. angle) estimation, between the actual and estimated variables, during interactions with an environment. We found no significant differences in performance between the unidirectional LSTM and bidirectional LSTM as the learning device of the proposed decoding method.