Inexpensive surface electromyography sleeve with consistent electrode placement enables dexterous and stable prosthetic control through deep learning
The dexterity of conventional myoelectric prostheses is limited in part by the small datasets used to train the control algorithms. Variations in surface electrode positioning make it difficult to collect consistent data and to estimate motor intent reliably over time. To address these challenges, we developed an inexpensive, easy-to-don sleeve that can record robust and repeatable surface electromyography from 32 embedded monopolar electrodes. Embedded grommets are used to consistently align the sleeve with natural skin markings (e.g., moles, freckles, scars). The sleeve can be manufactured in a few hours for less than $60. Data from seven intact participants show the sleeve provides a signal-to-noise ratio of 14, a don-time under 11 seconds, and sub-centimeter precision for electrode placement. Furthermore, in a case study with one intact participant, we use the sleeve to demonstrate that neural networks can provide simultaneous and proportional control of six degrees of freedom, even 263 days after initial algorithm training. We also highlight that consistent recordings, accumulated over time to establish a large dataset, significantly improve dexterity. These results suggest that deep learning with a 74-layer neural network can substantially improve the dexterity and stability of myoelectric prosthetic control, and that deep-learning techniques can be readily instantiated and further validated through inexpensive sleeves/sockets with consistent recording locations.