Model-based Fusion of Surface Electromyography with Kinematic and Kinetic Measurements for Monitoring of Muscle Fatigue

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Published Jul 7, 2022
Haihua Ou Deanna Gates Shane Johnson Dragan Djurdjanovic

Abstract

This study proposes a novel method for monitoring muscle fatigue using muscle-specific dynamic models which relate joint time-frequency signatures extracted from the relevant electromyogram (EMG) signals with the corresponding estimated muscle forces. Muscle forces were estimated using physics-driven musculoskeletal models which incorporate muscle lengths and contraction velocities estimated from the available kinematic and kinetic measurements. For any specific individual, such a muscle-specific dynamic model is trained using EMG and movement data collected in the early stages of an exercise, i.e., during the least-fatigued behavior. As the exercise or physical activity of that individual progresses and fatigue develops, residuals yielded by that model when approximating the newly arrived data shift and change because of the fatigue-induced changes in the underlying dynamics. In this paper, we propose quantitative evaluation of those changes via the concept of a muscle-specific Freshness Index (FI) which at any given time expresses overlaps between the distribution of that muscle’s model residuals observed on the most recently collected data and the distribution of modeling residuals observed during non-fatigued behavior. The newly proposed method was evaluated using data collected during a repetitive sawing motion experiment with 12 healthy participants. The performance of the FI as a fatigue metric was compared with the performance of the instantaneous frequency of the relevant EMG signals, which is a more traditional and widely used metric of muscle fatigue. It was found that the FI reflected the progression of muscle fatigue with desirable properties of stronger monotonic trends and smaller noise levels compared to the traditional, instantaneous frequency-based metrics.

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Keywords

Muscle fatigue, System-based performance monitoring, EMG signals, time-frequency signal analysis

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