Fractal features of surface electromyogram: a new measure for low level muscle activation

Poosapadi Arjunan, S 2008, Fractal features of surface electromyogram: a new measure for low level muscle activation, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Electrical and Computer Engineering, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Fractal features of surface electromyogram: a new measure for low level muscle activation
Author(s) Poosapadi Arjunan, S
Year 2008
Abstract Identifying finger and wrist flexion based actions using single channel surface electromyogram have a number of rehabilitation, defence and human computer interface applications. These applications are currently infeasible because of unreliability in classification of sEMG when the level of muscle contraction is low and when there are multiple active muscles. The presence of noise and cross-talk from closely located and simultaneously active muscles is exaggerated when muscles are weakly active such as during maintained wrist and finger flexion. It has been established in literature that surface electromyogram (sEMG) and other such biosignals are fractal signals. Some researchers have determined that fractal dimension (FD) is related to strength of muscle contraction. On careful analysis of fractal properties of sEMG, this research work has established that FD is related to the muscle size and complexity and not to the strength of muscle contraction. The work has also identified a novel feature, maximum fractal length (MFL) of the signal, as a good measure of strength of contraction of the muscle. From the analysis, it is observed that while at high level of contraction, root mean square (RMS) is an indicator of strength of contraction of the muscle, this relationship is not very strong when the muscle contraction is less than 50% maximum voluntary contraction. This work has established that MFL is a more reliable measure of strength of contraction compared to RMS, especially at low levels of contraction. This research work reports the use of fractal properties of sEMG to identify the small changes in strength of muscle contraction and the location of the active muscles. It is observed that fractal dimension (FD) of the signal is related with the properties of the muscle while maximum fractal length (MFL) is related to the strength of contraction of the associated muscle. The results show that classifying MFL and FD of a single channel sEMG from the forearm it is possible to accurately identify a set of finger and wrist flexion based actions even when the muscle activity is very weak. It is proposed that such a system could be used to control a prosthetic hand or for human computer interface.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Electrical and Computer Engineering
Keyword(s) Electromyography -- Methods
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