Cursor control by Kalman filter with a non-invasive body-machine interface

Ismael Seáñez-González*, Ferdinando A. Mussa-Ivaldi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. We describe a novel human-machine interface for the control of a two-dimensional (2D) computer cursor using four inertial measurement units (IMUs) placed on the user's upper-body. Approach. A calibration paradigm where human subjects follow a cursor with their body as if they were controlling it with their shoulders generates a map between shoulder motions and cursor kinematics. This map is used in a Kalman filter to estimate the desired cursor coordinates from upper-body motions. We compared cursor control performance in a centre-out reaching task performed by subjects using different amounts of information from the IMUs to control the 2D cursor. Main results. Our results indicate that taking advantage of the redundancy of the signals from the IMUs improved overall performance. Our work also demonstrates the potential of non-invasive IMU-based body-machine interface systems as an alternative or complement to brain-machine interfaces for accomplishing cursor control in 2D space. Significance. The present study may serve as a platform for people with high-tetraplegia to control assistive devices such as powered wheelchairs using a joystick.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056026
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Kalman filter
  • body-machine interface
  • cursor control
  • motor learning
  • spinal cord injury
  • wheelchair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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