Matching Items (5)

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A synergy-based hand control is encoded in human motor cortical areas

Description

How the human brain controls hand movements to carry out different tasks is still debated. The concept of synergy has been proposed to indicate functional modules that may simplify the

How the human brain controls hand movements to carry out different tasks is still debated. The concept of synergy has been proposed to indicate functional modules that may simplify the control of hand postures by simultaneously recruiting sets of muscles and joints. However, whether and to what extent synergic hand postures are encoded as such at a cortical level remains unknown. Here, we combined kinematic, electromyography, and brain activity measures obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging while subjects performed a variety of movements towards virtual objects. Hand postural information, encoded through kinematic synergies, were represented in cortical areas devoted to hand motor control and successfully discriminated individual grasping movements, significantly outperforming alternative somatotopic or muscle-based models. Importantly, hand postural synergies were predicted by neural activation patterns within primary motor cortex. These findings support a novel cortical organization for hand movement control and open potential applications for brain-computer interfaces and neuroprostheses.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-15

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Postural Hand Synergies during Environmental Constraint Exploitation

Description

Humans are able to intuitively exploit the shape of an object and environmental constraints to achieve stable grasps and perform dexterous manipulations. In doing that, a vast range of kinematic

Humans are able to intuitively exploit the shape of an object and environmental constraints to achieve stable grasps and perform dexterous manipulations. In doing that, a vast range of kinematic strategies can be observed. However, in this work we formulate the hypothesis that such ability can be described in terms of a synergistic behavior in the generation of hand postures, i.e., using a reduced set of commonly used kinematic patterns. This is in analogy with previous studies showing the presence of such behavior in different tasks, such as grasping. We investigated this hypothesis in experiments performed by six subjects, who were asked to grasp objects from a flat surface. We quantitatively characterized hand posture behavior from a kinematic perspective, i.e., the hand joint angles, in both pre-shaping and during the interaction with the environment. To determine the role of tactile feedback, we repeated the same experiments but with subjects wearing a rigid shell on the fingertips to reduce cutaneous afferent inputs. Results show the persistence of at least two postural synergies in all the considered experimental conditions and phases. Tactile impairment does not alter significantly the first two synergies, and contact with the environment generates a change only for higher order Principal Components. A good match also arises between the first synergy found in our analysis and the first synergy of grasping as quantified by previous work. The present study is motivated by the interest of learning from the human example, extracting lessons that can be applied in robot design and control. Thus, we conclude with a discussion on implications for robotics of our findings.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-08-29

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A Human-Robot Interaction Perspective on Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics

Description

Assistive and rehabilitation devices are a promising and challenging field of recent robotics research. Motivated by societal needs such as aging populations, such devices can support motor functionality and subject

Assistive and rehabilitation devices are a promising and challenging field of recent robotics research. Motivated by societal needs such as aging populations, such devices can support motor functionality and subject training. The design, control, sensing, and assessment of the devices become more sophisticated due to a human in the loop. This paper gives a human-robot interaction perspective on current issues and opportunities in the field. On the topic of control and machine learning, approaches that support but do not distract subjects are reviewed. Options to provide sensory user feedback that are currently missing from robotic devices are outlined. Parallels between device acceptance and affective computing are made. Furthermore, requirements for functional assessment protocols that relate to real-world tasks are discussed. In all topic areas, the design of human-oriented frameworks and methods is dominated by challenges related to the close interaction between the human and robotic device. This paper discusses the aforementioned aspects in order to open up new perspectives for future robotic solutions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05-23

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Assessment of Myoelectric Controller Performance and Kinematic Behavior of a Novel Soft Synergy-Inspired Robotic Hand for Prosthetic Applications

Description

Myoelectric artificial limbs can significantly advance the state of the art in prosthetics, since they can be used to control mechatronic devices through muscular activity in a way that mimics

Myoelectric artificial limbs can significantly advance the state of the art in prosthetics, since they can be used to control mechatronic devices through muscular activity in a way that mimics how the subjects used to activate their muscles before limb loss. However, surveys indicate that dissatisfaction with the functionality of terminal devices underlies the widespread abandonment of prostheses. We believe that one key factor to improve acceptability of prosthetic devices is to attain human likeness of prosthesis movements, a goal which is being pursued by research on social and human–robot interactions. Therefore, to reduce early abandonment of terminal devices, we propose that controllers should be designed so as to ensure effective task accomplishment in a natural fashion. In this work, we have analyzed and compared the performance of three types of myoelectric controller algorithms based on surface electromyography to control an underactuated and multi-degrees of freedom prosthetic hand, the SoftHand Pro.

The goal of the present study was to identify the myoelectric algorithm that best mimics the native hand movements. As a preliminary step, we first quantified the repeatability of the SoftHand Pro finger movements and identified the electromyographic recording sites for able-bodied individuals with the highest signal-to-noise ratio from two pairs of muscles, i.e., flexor digitorum superficialis/extensor digitorum communis, and flexor carpi radialis/extensor carpi ulnaris. Able-bodied volunteers were then asked to execute reach-to-grasp movements, while electromyography signals were recorded from flexor digitorum superficialis/extensor digitorum communis as this was identified as the muscle pair characterized by high signal-to-noise ratio and intuitive control. Subsequently, we tested three myoelectric controllers that mapped electromyography signals to position of the SoftHand Pro. We found that a differential electromyography-to-position mapping ensured the highest coherence with hand movements. Our results represent a first step toward a more effective and intuitive control of myoelectric hand prostheses.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-10-17

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Proceedings of the first workshop on Peripheral Machine Interfaces: going beyond traditional surface electromyography

Description

One of the hottest topics in rehabilitation robotics is that of proper control of prosthetic devices. Despite decades of research, the state of the art is dramatically behind the expectations.

One of the hottest topics in rehabilitation robotics is that of proper control of prosthetic devices. Despite decades of research, the state of the art is dramatically behind the expectations. To shed light on this issue, in June, 2013 the first international workshop on Present and future of non-invasive peripheral nervous system (PNS)–Machine Interfaces (MI; PMI) was convened, hosted by the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics. The keyword PMI has been selected to denote human–machine interfaces targeted at the limb-deficient, mainly upper-limb amputees, dealing with signals gathered from the PNS in a non-invasive way, that is, from the surface of the residuum. The workshop was intended to provide an overview of the state of the art and future perspectives of such interfaces; this paper represents is a collection of opinions expressed by each and every researcher/group involved in it.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-08-15