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A Finite Element Model Approach to Determine the Influence of Electrode Design and Muscle Architecture on Myoelectric Signal Properties.

Teklemariam, A and Hodson-Tole, EF and Reeves, ND and Costen, NP and Cooper, G (2016) A Finite Element Model Approach to Determine the Influence of Electrode Design and Muscle Architecture on Myoelectric Signal Properties. PLoS One, 11.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Surface electromyography (sEMG) is the measurement of the electrical activity of the skeletal muscle tissue detected at the skin's surface. Typically, a bipolar electrode configuration is used. Most muscles have pennate and/or curved fibres, meaning it is not always feasible to align the bipolar electrodes along the fibres direction. Hence, there is a need to explore how different electrode designs can affect sEMG measurements. METHOD: A three layer finite element (skin, fat, muscle) muscle model was used to explore different electrode designs. The implemented model used as source signal an experimentally recorded intramuscular EMG taken from the biceps brachii muscle of one healthy male. A wavelet based intensity analysis of the simulated sEMG signal was performed to analyze the power of the signal in the time and frequency domain. RESULTS: The model showed muscle tissue causing a bandwidth reduction (to 20-92- Hz). The inter-electrode distance (IED) and the electrode orientation relative to the fibres affected the total power but not the frequency filtering response. The effect of significant misalignment between the electrodes and the fibres (60°- 90°) could be reduced by increasing the IED (25-30 mm), which attenuates signal cancellation. When modelling pennated fibres, the muscle tissue started to act as a low pass filter. The effect of different IED seems to be enhanced in the pennated model, while the filtering response is changed considerably only when the electrodes are close to the signal termination within the model. For pennation angle greater than 20°, more than 50% of the source signal was attenuated, which can be compensated by increasing the IED to 25 mm. CONCLUSION: Differences in tissue filtering properties, shown in our model, indicates that different electrode designs should be considered for muscle with different geometric properties (i.e. pennated muscles).

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