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Leveraging high-density EMG to investigate bipolar electrode placement for gait prediction models

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posted on 2023-09-07, 16:44 authored by Balint HodossyBalint Hodossy, Annika Guez, Shibo Jing, Weiguang Huo, Ravi Vaidyanathan, Dario Farina

For the control of wearable robotics, it is critical to obtain a prediction of the user’s motion intent with high accuracy. Electromyography (EMG) recordings have often been used as inputs for these devices, however bipolar EMG electrodes are highly sensitive to their location. Positional shifts of electrodes after training gait prediction models can therefore result in severe performance degradation. 

This study uses high-density EMG electrodes to simulate various bipolar electrode signals from four leg muscles during steady-state walking. The bipolar signals were ranked based on the consistency of the corresponding EMG envelope’s activity and timing across gait cycles. 

The locations were then compared by evaluating the performance of an offline Temporal Convolutional Network (TCN) that mapped EMG signals to knee angles. The results showed that electrode locations with consistent EMG envelopes resulted in greater prediction accuracy compared to hand-aligned placements (p<0.01). However, performance gains through this process were limited, and did not resolve the position shift issue. 

Instead of training a model for a single location, we showed that randomly sampling bipolar combinations across the high-density EMG grid during training mitigated this effect. Models trained with this method generalised over all positions, and achieved 70% less prediction error than location specific models over the entire area of the grid. Therefore, the use of high-density EMG grids to build training datasets could enable the development of models robust to spatial variations, and reduce the impact of muscle-specific electrode placement on accuracy.


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Imperial College London

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  • United Kingdom