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New recording techniques for detecting surface electromyographic (EMG) signals based on concentric-ring electrodes are proposed in this paper. A theoretical study of the two-dimensional (2-D) spatial transfer function of these recording systems is developed both in case of rings with a physical dimension and in case of line rings. Design criteria for the proposed systems are presented in relation to spatial selectivity. It is shown that, given the radii of the rings, the weights of the spatial filter can be selected in order to improve the rejection of low spatial frequencies, thus increasing spatial selectivity. The theoretical transfer functions of concentric systems are obtained and compared with those of other detection systems. Signals detected with the ring electrodes and with traditional one-dimensional and 2-D systems are compared. The concentric-ring systems show higher spatial selectivity with respect to the traditional detection systems and reduce the problem of electrode location since they are invariant to rotations. The results shown are very promising for the noninvasive detection of single motor unit (MU) activities and decomposition of the surface EMG signal into the constituent MU action potential trains.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2001