Embroidered Electrodes for Control of Affordable Myoelectric Prostheses

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The low-cost manufacturing and maintenance of prostheses is of vital importance to their successful deployment in developing countries. Low-cost prosthesis actuation is generally achieved by combining pre-programmed control strategies, with surface-electromyographic measurements taken from the residual limb. In a standard setting, these signals are measured with disposable gel electrodes. However, this limit on electrode reuse requires that prosthesis users have a stable supply of electrodes. Alternatively, the textile electrodes sewn from conductive thread are studied in the context of hand gesture recognition to consider their future use with low-cost prostheses. In this paper, it is demonstrated that textile electrodes can be applied for gesture recognition. To do so, surface electromyography (sEMG) experiments are run in South Africa on three amputees where they were asked to perform gestures with their phantom limb (i.e., the missing limb segment). A gesture recognition method is implemented, and the classification accuracy with data recorded from textile electrodes is compared to that from gel electrodes. Further analysis examining the relationship between classifier performance and physiological parameters are performed. Results show that textile electrodes can be used to perform accurate gesture recognition, and are comparable to disposable gel electrodes. This demonstrates that low-cost sensory systems are not barrier to myoelectric control in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
Number of pages6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2018


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