Feasibility of using combined EMG and kinematic signals for prosthesis control: A simulation study using a virtual reality environment

Dimitra Blana* (Corresponding Author), Theocharis Kyriacou, Joris M. Lambrecht, Edward K Chadwick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Transhumeral amputation has a significant effect on a person's independence and quality of life. Myoelectric prostheses have the potential to restore upper limb function, however their use is currently limited due to lack of intuitive and natural control of multiple degrees of freedom. The goal of this study was to evaluate a novel transhumeral prosthesis controller that uses a combination of kinematic and electromyographic (EMG) signals recorded from the person's proximal humerus. Specifically, we trained a time-delayed artificial neural network to predict elbow flexion/extension and forearm pronation/supination from six proximal EMG signals, and humeral angular velocity and linear acceleration. We evaluated this scheme with ten able-bodied subjects offline, as well as in a target-reaching task presented in an immersive virtual reality environment. The offline training had a target of 4° for flexion/extension and 8° for pronation/supination, which it easily exceeded (2.7° and 5.5° respectively). During online testing, all subjects completed the target-reaching task with path efficiency of 78% and minimal overshoot (1.5%). Thus, combining kinematic and muscle activity signals from the proximal humerus can provide adequate prosthesis control, and testing in a virtual reality environment can provide meaningful data on controller performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology
Early online date9 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

This study was partly supported by a UK Medical Research Council Centenary Award to Keele University.


  • Amputation
  • Prosthesis
  • Myoelectric
  • Transhumeral
  • Electromyography
  • Artificial neural network
  • Control


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