EMG Pattern Recognition Control of the DEKA Arm: Impact on User Ratings of Satisfaction and Usability

January 9, 2019

Linda ResnikFrantzy AclucheMatt BorgiaGail A. LatliefSam Phillips


The DEKA Arm has multiple degrees of freedom which historically have been operated primarily by inertial measurement units (IMUs). However, the IMUs are not appropriate for all potential users; new control methods are needed. The purposes of this study were: 1) to describe usability and satisfaction of two controls methods—IMU and myoelectric pattern recognition (EMG-PR) controls—and 2) to compare ratings by control and amputation level. A total of 36 subjects with transradial (TR) or transhumeral (TH) amputation participated in the study. The subjects included 11 EMG-PR users (82% TR) and 25 IMU users (68% TR). The study consisted of in-laboratory training (Part A) and home use (Part B). The subjects were administered the Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience satisfaction scale and other usability and satisfaction measures. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests compared the differences by control type. The differences were compared for those who did and did not want a DEKA Arm. The preferences for features of the DEKA Arm were compared by control type. The comparisons revealed poorer ratings of skill, comfort, and weight among EMG-PR users. The TR amputees using IMUs rated usability more favorably. TH amputees rated usability similarly. The TR amputees using EMG-PR were less satisfied with weight, pinch grip, and wrist display, whereas the TH amputees were less satisfied with the full system, wires/cables, and battery. Usability and satisfaction declined after Part B for EMG-PR users. Overall, we found that the IMU users rated the DEKA Arm and the controls more favorably than the EMG-PR users. The findings indicate that the EMG-PR system we tested was less well accepted than the IMUs for control of the DEKA Arm.



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