A Novel Algorithm for EMG Signal Processing and Muscle Timing Measurement

This paper presents a new method for the automated processing of surface electromyography (SEMG)signals, particularly suited for the detection of muscle activation timing. The method has an intermediate level of complexity between simpler (but less performing) and more complex (but in general slower) methods, and is successfully used in the development of biomedical devices for rehabilitation carried out by our group. The method proposed here is based on a statistical approach for threshold computation that is implemented without the need of maximum voluntary contraction or relaxed state, usually required to overcome the difficulty in obtaining the threshold value.

The method is compared with 10 popular automated standard methods using different types of simulated signals that approximate the behavior of real SEMG signals. Both the number of activations detected and the onset time measured are analyzed. The algorithm is then applied to real SEMG signals acquired from healthy subjects. The results are finally compared with the literature values. The results show that the proposed algorithm is the best performing method when both the number of activations and the activation timing are considered. In real applications, the algorithm gives the results compatible with the well-agreed literature data.