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This paper proposes a human-assisting manipulator teleoperated by electromyographic (EMG) signals and arm motions. The proposed method can realize a new master-slave manipulator system that uses no mechanical master controller. A person whose forearm has been amputated can use this manipulator as a personal assistant for desktop work. The control system consists of a hand and wrist control part and an arm control part. The hand and wrist control part selects an active joint in the manipulator's end-effector and controls it based on EMG pattern discrimination. The arm control part measures the position of the operator's wrist joint or the amputated part using a three-dimensional position sensor, and the joint angles of the manipulator's arm, except for the end-effector part, are controlled according to this position, which, in turn, corresponds to the position of the manipulator's joint. These control parts enable the operator to control the manipulator intuitively. The distinctive feature of our system is to use a novel statistical neural network for EMG pattern discrimination. The system can adapt itself to changes of the EMG patterns according to the differences among individuals, different locations of the electrodes, and time variation caused by fatigue or sweat. Our experiments have shown that the developed system could learn and estimate the operator's intended motions with a high degree of accuracy using the EMG signals, and that the manipulator could be controlled smoothly. We also confirmed that our system could assist the amputee in performing desktop work.
Date of Publication: Apr 2003