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Electromyography-based control of lower limb prostheses: a systematic review

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posted on 2022-04-18, 02:30 authored by Bahareh AhkamiBahareh Ahkami, Kirstin Ahmed, Alexander ThesleffAlexander Thesleff, Levi Hargrove, Max Ortiz-CatalanMax Ortiz-Catalan
Most amputations occur in lower limbs and despite improvements in prosthetic technology, no commercially available prosthetic leg uses electromyography (EMG) information as an input for control. Efforts to integrate EMG signals as part of the control strategy have increased in the last decade. In this review, we summarize the research in the field of lower limb prosthetic control using EMG. Four different online databases were searched from July-September 2020: Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, and Science Direct. We included articles that reported systems for controlling a prosthetic leg (with an ankle and/or knee actuator) by decoding gait intent using EMG signals alone or in combination with other sensors. A total of 1,327 papers were initially assessed and 117 were finally included in this review. The literature showed that despite the burgeoning interest in research, controlling a leg prosthesis using EMG signals remains challenging. Specifically, regarding EMG signal quality and stability, electrode placement, prosthetic hardware, and control algorithms, all of which need to be more robust for everyday use. In the studies that were investigated large variations were found across studies between the different control methodologies, type of research participant, recording protocols, assessments, and prosthetic hardware.


Promobilia Foundation

IngaBritt and Arne Lundbergs Foundation

Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

National Institutes of Health


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ORCID of Submitting Author


Submitting Author's Institution

Chalmers University of Technology

Submitting Author's Country

  • Sweden