Research Abstract

There are multiple problems associated with myoelectric control, currently the most popular form of prosthetic control. Myoelectrodes are expensive, require extensive processing to remove noise, must sometimes be implanted to receive the best signal, and often receive a noisy signal when used externally. One out of every twenty times, myoelectrodes inaccurately predict muscle bulge. Force sensors, a new control method being tested in this project, measure muscle bulge directly, rather than the electricity produced by the muscle. Force sensors are inexpensive, require little or no signal processing, and are used externally. To test this control method, an operational prosthetic hand prototype was built. MATLAB programming language was employed to write a program that could take readings through the computer, from both myoelectrodes and force sensors, and compare their accuracy. The program used Linear Discriminant Analysis to analyze the input voltages and convert them into a signal that would be capable of commanding movement for a given degree of freedom in a prosthetic device. Results show that force sensors can accurately differentiate between different forearm muscles with little training, indicating that in the future they could provide a low-cost, low-maintenance control method for amputees. Research was supported by Mu Alpha Theta.

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