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Title: Using principles of motor control to analyze performance of human machine interfaces

There have been significant advances in biosignal extraction techniques to drive external biomechatronic devices or to use as inputs to sophisticated human machine interfaces. The control signals are typically derived from biological signals such as myoelectric measurements made either from the surface of the skin or subcutaneously. Other biosignal sensing modalities are emerging. With improvements in sensing modalities and control algorithms, it is becoming possible to robustly control the target position of an end-effector. It remains largely unknown to what extent these improvements can lead to naturalistic human-like movement. In this paper, we sought to answer this question. We utilized a sensing paradigm called sonomyography based on continuous ultrasound imaging of forearm muscles. Unlike myoelectric control strategies which measure electrical activation and use the extracted signals to determine the velocity of an end-effector; sonomyography measures muscle deformation directly with ultrasound and uses the extracted signals to proportionally control the position of an end-effector. Previously, we showed that users were able to accurately and precisely perform a virtual target acquisition task using sonomyography. In this work, we investigate the time course of the control trajectories derived from sonomyography. We show that the time course of the sonomyography-derived trajectories that users take to reach virtual targets reflect the trajectories shown to be typical for kinematic characteristics observed in biological limbs. Specifically, during a target acquisition task, the velocity profiles followed a minimum jerk trajectory shown for point-to-point arm reaching movements, with similar time to target. In addition, the trajectories based on ultrasound imaging result in a systematic delay and scaling of peak movement velocity as the movement distance increased. We believe this is the first evaluation of similarities in control policies in coordinated movements in jointed limbs, and those based on position control signals extracted at the individual muscle level. These results have strong implications for the future development of control paradigms for assistive technologies.

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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
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Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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