Surgically Implanted Electrodes Enable Real-Time Finger and Grasp Pattern Recognition for Prosthetic Hands
Currently available prosthetic hands are capable of actuating anywhere from five to 30 degrees of freedom (DOF). However, grasp control of these devices remains unintuitive and cumbersome. To address this issue, we propose directly extracting finger commands from the neuromuscular system via electrodes implanted in residual innervated muscles and regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces (RPNIs). Two persons with transradial amputations had RPNIs created by suturing autologous free muscle grafts
... to their transected median, ulnar, and dorsal radial sensory nerves. Bipolar electrodes were surgically implanted into their ulnar and median RPNIs and into their residual innervated muscles. The implanted electrodes recorded local electromyography (EMG) with Signal-to-Noise Ratios ranging from 23 to 350 measured across various movements. In a series of single-day experiments, participants used a high speed pattern recognition system to control a virtual prosthetic hand in real-time. Both participants were able to transition between 10 pseudo-randomly cued individual finger and wrist postures in the virtual environment with an average online accuracy of 86.5% and latency of 255 ms. When the set was reduced to five grasp postures, average metrics improved to 97.9% online accuracy and 135 ms latency. Virtual task performance remained stable across untrained static arm positions while supporting the weight of the prosthesis. Participants also used the high speed classifier to switch between robotic prosthetic grips and complete a functional performance assessment. These results demonstrate that pattern recognition systems can use the high-quality EMG afforded by intramuscular electrodes and RPNIs to provide users with fast and accurate grasp control.