Evaluating the Ability of Congenital Upper Extremity Amputees to Control a Multi-Degree of Freedom Myoelectric Prosthesis


      To determine whether children and adults with unilateral congenital upper limb amputation can control myoelectric prostheses with multiple degrees of freedom (DOF) using pattern recognition (PR) technology.


      Seven participants (age 9–62 years) with unilateral congenital transradial amputation were tested on both their residual and sound side limbs to determine proficiency in controlling a virtual prosthesis using electromyographic signals captured by an array of surface electrodes that were processed using PR technology. Proficiency was measured through a virtual environment game called the target achievement control test, in which the testing protocol asked participants to match increasingly complex prosthesis postures with 1, 2, and 3 DOF.


      All the participants successfully created a PR calibration at 1, 2, and 3 DOF with their residual limb during testing, and no differences in calibration accuracy were observed when comparing the residual versus sound upper limbs. No differences were noted in the mean completion rate on the target achievement control test between the residual and sound limbs.


      Participants with a congenital upper limb amputation achieved PR control calibration of multi-DOF prostheses with proficiency and quality results of PR calibration that were comparable to those of their sound limb. This capability was observed in children as well as in adults. This demonstrates the potential for children and adults with a unilateral congenital transradial amputation to benefit from myoelectric prostheses with PR control.

      Clinical relevance

      The results from this study highlight the potential for patients in this population to benefit from myoelectric prostheses with PR control. Persons with unilateral congenital upper limb amputations can be considered for provision of this technology and enrollment in future research activities.

      Key words

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