Surface electromyogram analysis of the direction of isometric torque generation by the first dorsal interosseous muscle

Ping Zhou*, Nina L. Suresh, William Zev Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine whether a novel technique using high density surface electromyogram (EMG) recordings can be used to detect the directional dependence of muscle activity in a multifunctional muscle, the first dorsal interosseous (FDI). We used surface EMG recordings with a two-dimensional electrode array to search for inhomogeneous FDI activation patterns with changing torque direction at the metacarpophalangeal joint, the locus of action of the FDI muscle. The interference EMG distribution across the whole FDI muscle was recorded during isometric contraction at the same force magnitude in five different directions in the index finger abduction-flexion plane. The electrode array EMG activity was characterized by contour plots, interpolating the EMG amplitude between electrode sites. Across all subjects the amplitude of the flexion EMG was consistently lower than that of the abduction EMG at the given force. Pattern recognition methods were used to discriminate the isometric muscle contraction tasks with a linear discriminant analysis classifier, based on the extraction of two different feature sets of the surface EMG signal: the time domain (TD) feature set and a combination of autoregressive coefficients and the root mean square amplitude (AR+RMS) as a feature set. We found that high accuracies were obtained in the classification of different directions of the FDI muscle isometric contraction. With a monopolar electrode configuration, the average overall classification accuracy from nine subjects was 94.1 ± 2.3% for the TD feature set and 95.8 ± 1.5% for the AR+RMS feature set. Spatial filtering of the signal with bipolar electrode configuration improved the average overall classification accuracy to 96.7 ± 2.7% for the TD feature set and 98.1 ± 1.6% for the AR+RMS feature set. The distinct EMG contour plots and the high classification accuracies obtained from this study confirm distinct interference EMG pattern distributions as a function of task direction, suggesting that high density surface EMG is a useful tool for understanding the activation of multifunctional muscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036028
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering


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