An EMG interface for the control of motion and compliance of a supernumerary robotic finger

Irfan Hussain, Giovanni Spagnoletti, Gionata Salvietti, Domenico Prattichizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


In this paper, we propose a novel electromyographic (EMG) control interface to control motion and joints compliance of a supernumerary robotic finger. The supernumerary robotic fingers are a recently introduced class of wearable robotics that provides users additional robotic limbs in order to compensate or augment the existing abilities of natural limbs without substituting them. Since supernumerary robotic fingers are supposed to closely interact and perform actions in synergy with the human limbs, the control principles of extra finger should have similar behavior as human's ones including the ability of regulating the compliance. So that, it is important to propose a control interface and to consider the actuators and sensing capabilities of the robotic extra finger compatible to implement stiffness regulation control techniques. We propose EMG interface and a control approach to regulate the compliance of the device through servo actuators. In particular, we use a commercial EMG armband for gesture recognition to be associated with the motion control of the robotic device and surface one channel EMG electrodes interface to regulate the compliance of the robotic device. We also present an updated version of a robotic extra finger where the adduction/abduction motion is realized through ball bearing and spur gears mechanism. We have validated the proposed interface with two sets of experiments related to compensation and augmentation. In the first set of experiments, different bimanual tasks have been performed with the help of the robotic device and simulating a paretic hand since this novel wearable system can be used to compensate the missing grasping abilities in chronic stroke patients. In the second set, the robotic extra finger is used to enlarge the workspace and manipulation capability of healthy hands. In both sets, the same EMG control interface has been used. The obtained results demonstrate that the proposed control interface is intuitive and can successfully be used, not only to control the motion of a supernumerary robotic finger but also to regulate its compliance. The proposed approach can be exploited also for the control of different wearable devices that has to actively cooperate with the human limbs.

Original languageBritish English
Article number18
JournalFrontiers in Neurorobotics
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - 2016


  • Compliance control
  • Supernumerary robotic fingers
  • Wearable robotics


Dive into the research topics of 'An EMG interface for the control of motion and compliance of a supernumerary robotic finger'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this