The effect of involuntary motor activity on myoelectric pattern recognition: A case study with chronic stroke patients

Xu Zhang, Yun Li, Xiang Chen, Guanglin Li, William Zev Rymer, Ping Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective. This study investigates the effect of the involuntary motor activity of paretic-spastic muscles on the classification of surface electromyography (EMG) signals. Approach. Two data collection sessions were designed for 8 stroke subjects to voluntarily perform 11 functional movements using their affected forearm and hand at relatively slow and fast speeds. For each stroke subject, the degree of involuntary motor activity present in the voluntary surface EMG recordings was qualitatively described from such slow and fast experimental protocols. Myoelectric pattern recognition analysis was performed using different combinations of voluntary surface EMG data recorded from the slow and fast sessions. Main results. Across all tested stroke subjects, our results revealed that when involuntary surface EMG is absent or present in both the training and testing datasets, high accuracies (>96%, >98%, respectively, averaged over all the subjects) can be achieved in the classification of different movements using surface EMG signals from paretic muscles. When involuntary surface EMG was solely involved in either the training or testing datasets, the classification accuracies were dramatically reduced (<89%, <85%, respectively). However, if both the training and testing datasets contained EMG signals with the presence and absence of involuntary EMG interference, high accuracies were still achieved (>97%). Significance. The findings of this study can be used to guide the appropriate design and implementation of myoelectric pattern recognition based systems or devices toward promoting robot-aided therapy for stroke rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number046015
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering


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