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Functionally biarticular control for smart prosthetics

2009, Gillespie, Brent, Baker, J., O'Malley, Marcia, Shewokis, Patricia, Contreras-Vidal, Jose Luis

In this paper we introduce the use of force feedback in conjunction with myoelectric control to establish an improved interface for a powered prosthetic limb. The force feedback is delivered through a single-axis exoskeleton worn about the elbow, while the EMG signal is derived from the biceps muscle. This combination is intended to produce a sense of effort in the biceps that is associated with the action of the motorized prosthetic gripper. The method engages both efferent and afferent signals innervating a functional muscle with the aim of realizing a muscle that is effectively biarticular. The controlling muscle spans one joint physiologically and a second, prosthetic joint functionally. Preliminary experiments have demonstrated that force feedback can substitute for vision during grasp and lift tasks.