The design of personalized movement training and rehabilitation pipelines relies on the ability of assessing the activation of individual muscles concurrently with the resulting joint torques exerted during functional movements. Despite advances in motion capturing, force sensing and bio-electrical recording technologies, the estimation of muscle activation and resulting force still relies on lengthy experimental and computational procedures that are not clinically viable. This work proposes a wearable technology for the rapid, yet quantitative, assessment of musculoskeletal function. It comprises of (1) a soft leg garment sensorized with 64 uniformly distributed electromyography (EMG) electrodes, (2) an algorithm that automatically groups electrodes into seven muscle-specific clusters, and (3) a EMG-driven musculoskeletal model that estimates the resulting force and torque produced about the ankle joint sagittal plane. Our results show the ability of the proposed technology to automatically select a sub-set of muscle-specific electrodes that enabled accurate estimation of muscle excitations and resulting joint torques across a large range of biomechanically diverse movements, underlying different excitation patterns, in a group of eight healthy individuals. This may substantially decrease time needed for localization of muscle sites and electrode placement procedures, thereby facilitating applicability of EMG-driven modelling pipelines in standard clinical protocols.
- Ankle joint torque
- Muscle localization
- Musculoskeletal modeling
- Non-negative matrix factorization
- Wearable technology