Lower Limb Muscle Synergy During Daily Life Activities : A Way to Convey Intended Motions To a Robotic Assistive Device.
Abstract: Powered exoskeletons can assist patients suffering from motor dysfunctions. Recent researches are focused on how to improve the communication system between patient and device. Further research is needed in order to design an EMG based robotic assistive device able to convey intended motions to the patient. The primary need is the understanding of how EMG patterns from different muscles contribute to motions. Studies on muscle synergy have shown how different muscles of lower limbs contribute to gait. This study is aimed to expand the analysis to motions other than gait by analysing ten muscles around the right knee joint. The chosen muscle were soleus, gastrocnemius medialis, gastrocnemius lateralis, peroneus longus, tibialis anterior, rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris and semitendinosus. The main hypothesis is that specific movements are controlled by specific muscle synergies. Motion data and EMG data of eight healthy subjects have been compared in order to outline a coordination pattern specific to four different movements: gait, gait stop and balance, sit to stand and stand to sit. Through the analysis of EMG signals, three muscle synergies have been identified including muscles from the same group, i.e. four plantar flexors, three quadriceps and two hamstrings. It was possible to conclude that the four movements were controlled by the same muscle synergies with different coordination patterns. Further research is recommended to expand the knowledge about muscle synergies.
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