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Can We Achieve Intuitive Prosthetic Elbow Control Based on Healthy Upper Limb Motor Strategies?

Related Articles Can We Achieve Intuitive Prosthetic Elbow Control Based on Healthy Upper Limb Motor Strategies? Front Neurorobot. 2018;12:1 Authors: Merad M, de Montalivet É, Touillet A, Martinet N, Roby-Brami A, Jarrassé N Abstract Most transhumeral amputees report that their prosthetic device lacks functionality, citing the control strategy as a major limitation. Indeed, they are required to control several degrees of freedom with muscle groups primarily used for elbow actuation. As a result, most of them choose to have a one-degree-of-freedom myoelectric hand for grasping objects, a myoelectric wrist for pronation/supination, and a body-powered elbow. Unlike healthy upper limb movements, the prosthetic elbow joint angle, adjusted prior to the motion, is not involved in the overall upper limb movements, causing the rest of the body to compensate for the lack of mobility of the prosthesis. A promising solution to improve upper limb prosthesis control exploits the residual limb mobility: like in healthy movements, shoulder and prosthetic elbow motions are coupled using inter-joint coordination models. The present study aims to test this approach. A transhumeral amputated individual used a prosthesis with a residual limb motion-driven elbow to point at targets. The prosthetic elbow motion was derived from IMU-based shoulder measurements and a generic model of inter-joint coordinations built from healthy individuals data. For comparison, the participant also performed the task while the prosthetic elbow was implemented with his own myoelectric control strategy. The results show that although the transhumeral amputated participant achieved the pointing task with a better precision when the elbow was myoelectrically-controlled, he had to develop large compensatory trunk movements. Automatic elbow control reduced trunk displacements, and enabled a more natural body behavior with synchronous shoulder and elbow motions. However, due to socket impairments, the residual limb amplitudes were not as large as those of healthy shoulder movements. Therefore, this work also investigates if a control strategy whereby prosthetic joints are automatized according to healthy individuals' coordination models can lead to an intuitive and natural prosthetic control. PMID: 29456499 [PubMed]