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Design and characterization of a textile electrode system for the detection of High-Density sEMG

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Muscle activity monitoring in dynamic conditions is a crucial need in different scenarios, ranging from sport to rehabilitation science and applied physiology. The acquisition of surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals by means of grids of electrodes (High-Density sEMG, HD-sEMG) allows to obtain relevant information on muscle function and recruitment strategies. During dynamic conditions, this possibility demands both a wearable and miniaturized acquisition system and a system of electrodes easy to wear, assuring a stable electrode-skin interface. While recent advancements have been made on the former issue, detection systems specifically designed for dynamic conditions are at best incipient. The aim of this work is to design, characterize, and test a wearable, HD-sEMG detection system based on a textile technology. A 32-electrodes, 15 mm inter-electrode distance textile grid was designed and prototyped. The electrical properties of the material constituting the detection system and of the electrode-skin interface were characterized. The quality of sEMG signals was assessed in both static and dynamic contractions. The performance of the textile detection system was comparable to that of conventional systems in terms of stability of the traces, properties of the electrode-skin interface and quality of the collected sEMG signals during quasi-isometric and highly dynamic tasks.

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