Task-space Synergies for Reaching using Upper-limb Prostheses

Task-space Synergies for Reaching using Upper-limb Prostheses 672 207 Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering (TNSRE)

Synergistic prostheses enable the coordinated movement of the human-prosthetic arm, as required by activities of daily living. This is achieved by coupling the motion of the prosthesis to the human command, such as the residual limb movement in motion-based interfaces. Previous studies demonstrated that developing human-prosthetic synergies in joint-space must consider individual motor behaviour and the intended task to be performed, requiring personalisation and task calibration. In this work, an alternative synergy-based strategy, utilising a synergistic relationship expressed in task-space, is proposed. This task-space synergy has the potential to replace the need for personalisation and task calibration with a model-based approach requiring knowledge of the individual user’s arm kinematics, the anticipated hand motion during the task and voluntary information from the prosthetic user. The proposed method is compared with surface electromyography-based and joint-space synergy-based prosthetic interfaces in a study of motor behaviour and task performance on able-bodied subjects using a VR-based transhumeral prosthesis. Experimental results showed that for a set of forward reaching tasks the proposed task-space synergy achieves comparable performance to joint-space synergies without the need to rely on time-consuming calibration processes or human motor learning. Case study results with an amputee subject motivate the further development of the proposed task-space synergy method.