Developed Work and Current State (I)

System Setup and Acquisition of two databases for the analysis of multichannel sEMG

iSCI Database

Design and development of an experimental protocol for the assessment of muscular activity in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) with restrained mobility of the upper-limb. A mechanical brace was designed for the measurement and control of the force exerted at the elbow joint during isometric contractions related to flexion, extension, pronation and supination of the forearm at different levels of the Maximum Voluntary Contraction (particularly 10%, 30% and 50% for this protocol). A system for the registering of sEMG was also implemented by using two independent EMG amplifiers consisting of 128 channels each. The sEMG signals registered in different amplifiers were synchronized offline along with the torque signals delivered by the mechanical brace. Additionally, a set of 2D electrode arrays embedded in hydrophobic fabric was designed in order to improve the skin-electrode impedance by increasing the contact between the recording electrodes and the surface of the skin due to the flexibility of the fabric tissue. This also preserved the sensor array on the same position during the entire duration of the experimental protocol.

A preliminary study regarding the dimensions and positioning of the electrode arrays for the assessment of the electrical activity of the Biceps, Triceps, Pronator Teres, Brachioradialis and Anconeus was performed. This study allowed the design and development of the 2D arrays for the registering of high density sEMG signals (i.e. with a large number of channels).

Finally two databases were registered in order to assess and compare the activation patterns of patients with iSCI in relation to the patterns expected from subjects with no history of neuromuscular disorders. The first database comprises signals registered on the control population (13 subjects) and was registered at the Laboratory of Engineering for the Neuromuscular System and Motor Rehabilitation (LISiN) of the Technical University of Turin. The second was registered at the Institut Guttmann Hospital and is composed by 12 patients with iSCI at C3 to C6 level.


RSI Database

BiofeedbackAn experimental protocol was designed and implemented in order to analyze Repetitive Stress Injuries in professional musicians. It also included the implementation of a visual feedback software tool that allows the execution of isometric contractions during exercises similar to those performed by piano-players: sequential and individual pressure with each of the fingers following a fixed pattern and the common pressure exerted with the whole hand. A database composed by 6 subjects was registered and analyzed in order to validate the use of sEMG in the assessment of this kind of disorders.