Single muscle site sEMG interface for assistive grasping
We report prototype development and testing of a new mobile-phone-based brain-muscle-computer interface for severely paralyzed persons, based on previous results from our group showing that humans may actively create specified power levels in two separate frequency bands of a single surface electromyography (sEMG) signal. EMG activity on the surface of a single face muscle site (auricularis superior) is recorded with a standard electrode. This analog electrical signal is imported into an Android-based mobile phone and digitized via an internal A/D converter. The digital signal is split, and then simultaneously filtered with two band-pass filters to extract total power within two separate frequency bands. The user-modulated power in each frequency band serves as two separate control channels for machine control. After signal processing, the Android phone sends commands to external devices via a Bluetooth interface. Users are trained to use the device via visually based operant conditioning, with simple cursor-to-target activities on the phone screen. The mobile-phone prototype interface is formally evaluated on a single advanced Spinal Muscle Atrophy subject, who has successfully used the interface in his home in evaluation trials and for remote control of a television. Development of this new device will not only guide future interface design for community use, but will also serve as an information technology bridge for in situ data collection to quantify human sEMG manipulation abilities for a relevant population.