Determining the optimal window length for pattern recognition-based myoelectric control: balancing the competing effects of classification error and controller delay.
ABSTRACT Pattern recognition-based control of myoelectric prostheses has shown great promise in research environments, but has not been optimized for use in a clinical setting. To explore the relationship between classification error, controller delay, and real-time controllability, 13 able-bodied subjects were trained to operate a virtual upper-limb prosthesis using pattern recognition of electromyogram (EMG) signals. Classification error and controller delay were varied by training different classifiers with a variety of analysis window lengths ranging from 50 to 550 ms and either two or four EMG input channels. Offline analysis showed that classification error decreased with longer window lengths (p < 0.01 ). Real-time controllability was evaluated with the target achievement control (TAC) test, which prompted users to maneuver the virtual prosthesis into various target postures. The results indicated that user performance improved with lower classification error (p < 0.01 ) and was reduced with longer controller delay (p < 0.01 ), as determined by the window length. Therefore, both of these effects should be considered when choosing a window length; it may be beneficial to increase the window length if this results in a reduced classification error, despite the corresponding increase in controller delay. For the system employed in this study, the optimal window length was found to be between 150 and 250 ms, which is within acceptable controller delays for conventional multistate amplitude controllers.