Development of an EMG-controlled serious game for rehabilitation

Mohammad Ghassemi, Kristen Triandafilou, Alex Barry, Mary Ellen Stoykov, Elliot J Roth, Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi, Derek G. Kamper, Rajiv Ranganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A majority of the seven million stroke survivors in the U.S. have hand impairments, adversely affecting performance of a variety of activities of daily living, because of the fundamental role of the hand in performing functional tasks. Disability in stroke survivors is largely attributable to damaged neuronal pathways, which result in inappropriate activation of muscles, a condition prevalent in distal upper extremity muscles following stroke. While conventional rehabilitation methods focus on the amplification of existing muscle activation, the effectiveness of therapy targeting the reorganization of pathological activation patterns is often unexplored. To encourage modulation of activation level and exploration of the activation workspace, we developed a novel platform for playing a serious game through electromyographic control. This system was evaluated by a group of neurologically intact subjects over multiple sessions held on different days. Subjects were assigned to one of two groups, training either with their non-dominant hand only (unilateral) or with both hands (bilateral). Both groups of subjects displayed improved performance in controlling the cursor with their non-dominant hand, with retention from one session to the next. The system holds promise for rehabilitation of control of muscle activation patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • EMG
  • Rehabilitation
  • Serious game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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