, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 958-967,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Nov 2012

A simulation study on the relation between muscle motor unit numbers and the non-Gaussianity/non-linearity levels of surface electromyography


Recent research has demonstrated that surface electromyography (sEMG) signals have non-Gaussianity and non-linearity properties. It is known that more muscle motor units are recruited and firing rates (FRs) increase as exertion increases. A hypothesis was proposed that the Gaussianity test (S g) and linearity test (S ) levels of sEMG signals are associated with the number of active motor units (nMUs) and the FR. The hypothesis has only been preliminarily discussed in experimental studies. We used a simulation sEMG model involving spatial (active MUs) and temporal (three FRs) information to test the hypothesis. Higher-order statistics (HOS) from the bi-frequency domain were used to perform S g and S . Multivariate covariance analysis and a correlation test were employed to determine the nMUs-S g relationship and the nMUs-S relationship. Results showed that nMUs, the FR, and the interaction of nMUs and the FR all influenced the S g and S values. The nMUs negatively correlated to both the S g and S values. That is, at the three FRs, sEMG signals tended to a more Gaussian and linear distribution as exertion and nMUs increased. The study limited experiment factors to the sEMG non-Gaussianity and non-linearity levels. The study quantitatively described nMUs and the FR of muscle that are not directly available from experiments. Our finding has guiding significance for muscle capability assessment and prosthetic control.

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