Understanding Limb Position and External Load Effects on Real-Time Pattern Recognition Control in Amputees

Yuni Teh*, Levi J. Hargrove

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Limb position is a factor that negatively affects myoelectric pattern recognition classification accuracy. However, prior studies evaluating impact on real-time control for upper-limb amputees have done so without a physical prosthesis on the residual limb. It remains unclear how limb position affects real-time pattern recognition control in amputees when their residual limb is supporting various weights. We used a virtual reality target achievement control test to evaluate the effects of limb position and external load on real-time pattern recognition control in fourteen intact limb subjects and six major upper limb amputee subjects. We also investigated how these effects changed based on different control system training methods. In a static training method, subjects kept their unloaded arm by their side with the elbow bent whereas in the dynamic training method, subjects moved their arm throughout a workspace while supporting a load. When static training was used, limb position significantly affected real-time control in all subjects. However, amputee subjects were still able to adequately complete tasks in all conditions, even in untrained limb positions. Moreover, increasing external loads decreased controller performance, albeit to a lesser extent in amputee subjects. The effects of limb position did not change as load increased, and vice versa. In intact limb subjects, dynamic training significantly reduced the limb position effect but did not completely remove them. In contrast, in amputee subjects, dynamic training eliminated the limb position effect in three out of four outcome measures. However, it did not reduce the effects of load for either subject population. These findings suggest that results obtained from intact limb subjects may not generalize to amputee subjects and that advanced training methods can substantially improve controller robustness to different limb positions regardless of limb loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9090887
Pages (from-to)1605-1613
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Prosthetics
  • limb position
  • myoelectric control
  • pattern recognition (PR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering

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