EMG-Controlled Mechanical Hand
Current non-invasive hand prostheses focus on the flexion and extension of all or most of the fingers simultaneously. This provides amputees with the ability to grasp objects and do simple hand gestures. While these prostheses tend to be prohibitively expensive, in recent years 3D printing has become affordable and available to an increasing sector of the population, making the production of prostheses more affordable and accessible. The EMG-Controlled Mechanical Hand is a fully functional 3D-printed mechanical hand that uses surface electromyography to control the flexion of its fingers individually. This is accomplished by placing electrode pairs on the user’s forearm on top of the flexor muscles for each finger. The raw EMG signal from the electrodes is processed by five MyoWare Muscle Sensor EMG board into a signal suitable for the microcontroller unit. The Arduino Uno microcontroller uses an algorithm written by one of the authors to control the flexion and extension of the mechanical hand’s fingers using the EMG inputs. This project focuses on the complete flexion and extension of individual fingers, giving the user an intuitive control of the mechanical hand. This paper covers the background research, planning, methodology, testing, and results done for this project. The results of the tests show that it is possible to control the fingers of a mechanical hand individually using electromyography. Additional EMG channels and logic would provide a precise control of flexion and extension as well as adding more features, such as wrist rotation.
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