Classification of simultaneous movements using surface EMG pattern recognition

Aaron J. Young*, Lauren H. Smith, Elliott J. Rouse, Levi J. Hargrove

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Advanced upper limb prostheses capable of actuating multiple degrees of freedom (DOFs) are now commercially available. Pattern recognition algorithms that use surface electromyography (EMG) signals show great promise as multi-DOF controllers. Unfortunately, current pattern recognition systems are limited to activate only one DOF at a time. This study introduces a novel classifier based on Bayesian theory to provide classification of simultaneous movements. This approach and two other classification strategies for simultaneous movements were evaluated using nonamputee and amputee subjects classifying up to three DOFs, where any two DOFs could be classified simultaneously. Similar results were found for nonamputee and amputee subjects. The new approach, based on a set of conditional parallel classifiers was the most promising with errors significantly less ($p < 0.05$) than a single linear discriminant analysis (LDA) classifier or a parallel approach. For three-DOF classification, the conditional parallel approach had error rates of 6.6% on discrete and 10.9% on combined motions, while the single LDA had error rates of 9.4% on discrete and 14.1% on combined motions. The low error rates demonstrated suggest than pattern recognition techniques on surface EMG can be extended to identify simultaneous movements, which could provide more life-like motions for amputees compared to exclusively classifying sequential movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6377275
Pages (from-to)1250-1258
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • multi-DOF powered prosthesis classification
  • pattern recognition
  • simultaneous/coordinated movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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