A COMPARISON OF AMPUTEE AND ABLE-BODIED INTER-SUBJECT VARIABILITY IN MYOELECTRIC CONTROL
Despite decades of research and development of pattern recognition approaches, the clinical usability of myoelectric-controlled prostheses is still limited. One of the main issues is the high inter-subject variability that necessitates long and frequent user-specific training. Cross-user models present an opportunity to improve clinical viability of myoelectric control systems by leveraging existing data to shorten training. However, due to the difficulty of obtaining large sets of data from amputee populations, data from intact-limbed subjects are often supplemented when building cross-user models; which may not translate well to clinical usability. In this preliminary study, the differences between intact-limbed and amputee cross-user electromyography (EMG) patterns were examined. Previously collected EMG data from 20 intact limbed and 10 amputee subjects for different wrist, finger, and grasping gestures were analysed. Results using unsupervised clustering showed that amputees were consistently grouped into a different cluster than intact-limbed subjects and that additional clustering into more subgroups found larger differences between amputees than able-bodied subjects. Furthermore, a simple linear classifier was able to discriminate between able-bodied and amputee subjects using EMG from multiple gestures with 90% accuracy. These results suggest that using able-bodied subject data alone may be insufficient to capture the necessary inter-subject variance when designing cross-user myoelectric control systems for prosthesis control.