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Automatic determination of synergies by radial basis function artificial neural networks for the control of a neural prosthesis

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3 Author(s)
S. D. Iftime ; Dept. of Health Sci. & Technol., Aalborg Univ., Denmark ; L. L. Egsgaard ; M. B. Popovic

This paper describes an automatic method for synthesizing the control for a neural prosthesis (NP) that could augment elbow flexion/extension and forearm pronation/supination in persons with hemiplegia. The basis for the control was a synergistic model of reaching and grasping that uses temporal and spatial synergies between the arm and body segments. The synergies were determined from the movement data measured in nondisabled persons during the performance of functional tasks. The work space was divided into six zones: distance (two attributes) and laterality (three attributes). Radial basis function artificial neural networks (RBF ANN) were used to determine synergies. Sets of RBF ANN characterized with good generalization were selected as control laws for elbow flexion/extension and forearm pronation/supination. The validation was performed for three categories: inter-subject, distance, and laterality generalization. For all of the defined spatial synergies, the correlation was high for inter-subject and distance, yet low for the laterality scenario. This suggests the necessity for implementing different maps for different directions, but the same maps for different distances. The natural movements of the upper arm then drive the lower arm (elbow flexion/extension and forearm pronation/supination) in a way that is very well suited for the administration of functional electrical therapy (FET) in persons with hemiplegia soon after the onset of impairment.

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IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )