16:45 GMT +308 December 2019
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    A man presents the bionic prosthesis 'i-limb quantum'at the stand of the company Touch Bionics of Great Britain during the international trade show and world congress OTWorld in Leipzig, eastern Germany. (File)

    Smart Clothes & Bionic Prostheses: Researchers Learn to Read Muscle Signals

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    Scientists and engineers at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI have recently developed a Myo Interface device capable of reading the muscle’s electrical activity and converting it into signals.

    The new development will be used to create exercise equipment for those in rehabilitation, smart clothes for athletes that can take electrocardiograms as well as monitor other indicators, and a system to control bionic arm prostheses. It can also be used for remote control of smartphones and Smart House systems.

    Myo Interface is a project of a human-computer interface that reads the arm muscles' electric activity, recognizes gestures and translates them into commands for devices, explained Bulat Aitbayev, master's degree student at MEPhI's Higher Engineering School.

    "Myo comes from ‘muscle' in Greek," Aitbayev told an RIA Novosti representative. "The electrodes read the electromyographic signals of the muscles, while the interface uses special algorithms to recognize movement patterns and translate them into device commands."

    This project has been underway since 2015. Myo Interface won FASIE's Start-1 grant worth two million rubles; this money was used to assemble the laboratory prototype capable of recognizing up to eight gestures.

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    In 2017, this project won the Generation-S Pre-Accelerator contest and was ranked first in the Innovation in the Business nomination of the Innovative Radioelectronics competition. In 2018, it also won the Chinese-Russian Industrial Innovation Award.

    Recently, the developers have assembled a brand new, autonomous version of the device, which looks like a wristband equipped with Bluetooth and power supply modules, and also has an inertial module that includes a gyroscope and accelerometers.

    "Compared with the analogues, our device has a higher accuracy and lower device recognition delay rate," Aitbayev explained. "It also allows the use of a wider range of various recognition algorithms."

    Developers are planning to use the laboratory prototype to create a system for controlling the upper limbs' bionic prostheses and update the virtual and augmented reality movement tracking system.

    Researchers also managed to solve the subject of recognition algorithms, which used to stop working upon removing and attaching the electrodes back again; this allowed the reduction of the preliminary adjustment time. In the future, developers are planning to register their intellectual property and find industrial partners to implement the project.

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    The new MEPhI design can be used to create exercise equipment for those in rehabilitation after strokes or other traumatic situations that cause temporary paralysis; to make smart clothes for athletes that can take electrocardiograms or electromyograms, as well as monitor other health indicators. It can also be used for remote controlling various devices, such as smartphones or Smart House systems.


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    prosthesis, bionic, MEPhI, Russia
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