A comparison of surface and intramuscular myoelectric signal classification

Levi J. Hargrove*, Kevin Englehart, Bernard Hudgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

356 Scopus citations


The surface myoelectric signal (MES) has been used as an input to controllers for powered prostheses for many years. As a result of recent technological advances it is reasonable to assume that there will soon be implantable myoelectric sensors which will enable the internal MES to be used as input to these controllers. An internal MES measurement should have less muscular crosstalk allowing for more independent control sites. However, it remains unclear if this benefit outweighs the loss of the more global information contained in the surface MES. This paper compares the classification accuracy of six pattern recognition-based myoelectric controllers which use multi-channel surface MES as inputs to the same controllers which use multi-channel intramuscular MES as inputs. An experiment was designed during which surface and intramuscular MES were collected simultaneously for 10 different classes of isometric contraction. There was no significant difference in classification accuracy as a result of using the intramuscular MES measurement technique when compared to the surface MES measurement technique. Impressive classification accuracy (97%) could be achieved by optimally selecting only three channels of surface MES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Classification
  • EMG
  • Intramuscular
  • Myoelectric
  • Pattern recognition
  • Prostheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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