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Title: Concurrent Prediction of Finger Forces Based on Source Separation and Classification of Neuron Discharge Information
A reliable neural-machine interface is essential for humans to intuitively interact with advanced robotic hands in an unconstrained environment. Existing neural decoding approaches utilize either discrete hand gesture-based pattern recognition or continuous force decoding with one finger at a time. We developed a neural decoding technique that allowed continuous and concurrent prediction of forces of different fingers based on spinal motoneuron firing information. High-density skin-surface electromyogram (HD-EMG) signals of finger extensor muscle were recorded, while human participants produced isometric flexion forces in a dexterous manner (i.e. produced varying forces using either a single finger or multiple fingers concurrently). Motoneuron firing information was extracted from the EMG signals using a blind source separation technique, and each identified neuron was further classified to be associated with a given finger. The forces of individual fingers were then predicted concurrently by utilizing the corresponding motoneuron pool firing frequency of individual fingers. Compared with conventional approaches, our technique led to better prediction performances, i.e. a higher correlation ([Formula: see text] versus [Formula: see text]), a lower prediction error ([Formula: see text]% MVC versus [Formula: see text]% MVC), and a higher accuracy in finger state (rest/active) prediction ([Formula: see text]% versus [Formula: see text]%). Our decoding method demonstrated the possibility of classifying motoneurons for different fingers, which significantly alleviated the cross-talk issue of EMG recordings from neighboring hand muscles, and allowed the decoding of finger forces individually and concurrently. The outcomes offered a robust neural-machine interface that could allow users to intuitively control robotic hands in a dexterous manner.  more » « less
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International Journal of Neural Systems
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National Science Foundation
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