EMG feedback outperforms force feedback in the presence of prosthesis control disturbance

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Closing the prosthesis control loop by providing artificial somatosensory feedback can improve utility and user experience. Additionally, closed-loop control should be more robust with respect to disturbance, but this might depend on the type of feedback provided. Thus, the present study investigates and compares the performance of EMG and force feedback in the presence of control disturbances. Twenty able-bodied subjects and one transradial amputee performed delicate and power grasps with a prosthesis in a functional task, while the control signal gain was temporarily increased (high-gain disturbance) or decreased (low-gain disturbance) without their knowledge. Three outcome measures were considered: the percentage of trials successful in the first attempt (reaction to disturbance), the average number of attempts in trials where the wrong force was initially applied (adaptation to disturbance), and the average completion time of the last attempt in every trial. EMG feedback was shown to offer significantly better performance compared to force feedback during power grasping in terms of reaction to disturbance and completion time. During power grasping with high-gain disturbance, the median first-attempt success rate was significantly higher with EMG feedback (73.3%) compared to that achieved with force feedback (60%). Moreover, the median completion time for power grasps with low-gain disturbance was significantly longer with force feedback than with EMG feedback (3.64 against 2.48 s, an increase of 32%). Contrary to our expectations, there was no significant difference between feedback types with regards to adaptation to disturbances and the two feedback types performed similarly in delicate grasps. The results indicated that EMG feedback displayed better performance than force feedback in the presence of control disturbances, further demonstrating the potential of this approach to provide a reliable prosthesis-user interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number952288
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 Tchimino, Dideriksen and Dosen.


  • EMG feedback
  • closed-loop control
  • disturbance
  • grasping force control
  • prosthetic hand
  • somatosensory feedback
  • vibrotactile stimulation


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