Biofeedback Signals for Robotic Rehabilitation: Assessment of Wrist Muscle Activation Patterns in Healthy Humans

Marianna Semprini, Anna Vera Cuppone, Ioannis Delis, Valentina Squeri, Stefano Panzeri, Jürgen Konczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Electrophysiological recordings from human muscles can serve as control signals for robotic rehabilitation devices. Given that many diseases affecting the human sensorimotor system are associated with abnormal patterns of muscle activation, such biofeedback can optimize human-robot interaction and ultimately enhance motor recovery. To understand how mechanical constraints and forces imposed by a robot affect muscle synergies, we mapped the muscle activity of seven major arm muscles in healthy individuals performing goal-directed discrete wrist movements constrained by a wrist robot. We tested six movement directions and four force conditions typically experienced during robotic rehabilitation. We analyzed electromyographic (EMG) signals using a space-by-time decomposition and we identified a set of spatial and temporal modules that compactly described the EMG activity and were robust across subjects. For each trial, coefficients expressing the strength of each combination of modules and representing the underlying muscle recruitment, allowed for a highly reliable decoding of all experimental conditions. The decomposition provides compact representations of the observable muscle activation constrained by a robotic device. Results indicate that a low-dimensional control scheme incorporating EMG biofeedback could be an effective add-on for robotic rehabilitative protocols seeking to improve impaired motor function in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7775091
Pages (from-to)883-892
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IEEE.


  • Biofeedback
  • electromyography
  • muscle synergies
  • robotic rehabilitation


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