EMG-driven musculoskeletal model calibration with estimation of unmeasured muscle excitations via synergy extrapolation

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Frontiers Media S.A.

Subject-specific electromyography (EMG)-driven musculoskeletal models that predict muscle forces have the potential to enhance our knowledge of internal biomechanics and neural control of normal and pathological movements. However, technical gaps in experimental EMG measurement, such as inaccessibility of deep muscles using surface electrodes or an insufficient number of EMG channels, can cause difficulties in collecting EMG data from muscles that contribute substantially to joint moments, thereby hindering the ability of EMG-driven models to predict muscle forces and joint moments reliably. This study presents a novel computational approach to address the problem of a small number of missing EMG signals during EMG-driven model calibration. The approach (henceforth called “synergy extrapolation” or SynX) linearly combines time-varying synergy excitations extracted from measured muscle excitations to estimate 1) unmeasured muscle excitations and 2) residual muscle excitations added to measured muscle excitations. Time-invariant synergy vector weights defining the contribution of each measured synergy excitation to all unmeasured and residual muscle excitations were calibrated simultaneously with EMG-driven model parameters through a multi-objective optimization. The cost function was formulated as a trade-off between minimizing joint moment tracking errors and minimizing unmeasured and residual muscle activation magnitudes. We developed and evaluated the approach by treating a measured fine wire EMG signal (iliopsoas) as though it were “unmeasured” for walking datasets collected from two individuals post-stroke–one high functioning and one low functioning. How well unmeasured muscle excitations and activations could be predicted with SynX was assessed quantitatively for different combinations of SynX methodological choices, including the number of synergies and categories of variability in unmeasured and residual synergy vector weights across trials. The two best methodological combinations were identified, one for analyzing experimental walking trials used for calibration and another for analyzing experimental walking trials not used for calibration or for predicting new walking motions computationally. Both methodological combinations consistently provided reliable and efficient estimates of unmeasured muscle excitations and activations, muscle forces, and joint moments across both subjects. This approach broadens the possibilities for EMG-driven calibration of muscle-tendon properties in personalized neuromusculoskeletal models and may eventually contribute to the design of personalized treatments for mobility impairments.

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Ao, Di, Vega, Marleny M., Shourijeh, Mohammad S., et al.. "EMG-driven musculoskeletal model calibration with estimation of unmeasured muscle excitations via synergy extrapolation." Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 10, (2022) Frontiers Media S.A.: https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2022.962959.

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