Electromyography (EMG) is a simple, non-invasive, and cost-effective technology for measuring muscle activity. However, multi-muscle EMG is also a noisy, complex, and high-dimensional signal. It has nevertheless been widely used in a host of human-machine-interface applications (electrical wheelchairs, virtual computer mice, prosthesis, robotic fingers, etc.) and, in particular, to measure the reach-and-grasp motions of the human hand. Here, we developed an automated pipeline to predict object weight in a reach-grasp-lift task from an open dataset, relying only on EMG data. In doing so, we shifted the focus from manual feature-engineering to automated feature-extraction by using pre-processed EMG signals and thus letting the algorithms select the features. We further compared intrinsic EMG features, derived from several dimensionality-reduction methods, and then ran several classification algorithms on these low-dimensional representations. We found that the Laplacian Eigenmap algorithm generally outperformed other dimensionality-reduction methods. What is more, optimal classification accuracy was achieved using a combination of Laplacian Eigenmaps (simple-minded) and k-Nearest Neighbors (88% F1 score for 3-way classification). Our results, using EMG alone, are comparable to other researchers’, who used EMG and EEG together, in the literature. A running-window analysis further suggests that our method captures information in the EMG signal quickly and remains stable throughout the time that subjects grasp and move the object.
Lashgari E, Maoz U (2021) Dimensionality reduction for classification of object weight from electromyography. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0255926. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255926
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