Robotic leg control with EMG decoding in an amputee with nerve transfers

N Engl J Med. 2013 Sep 26;369(13):1237-42. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1300126.


The clinical application of robotic technology to powered prosthetic knees and ankles is limited by the lack of a robust control strategy. We found that the use of electromyographic (EMG) signals from natively innervated and surgically reinnervated residual thigh muscles in a patient who had undergone knee amputation improved control of a robotic leg prosthesis. EMG signals were decoded with a pattern-recognition algorithm and combined with data from sensors on the prosthesis to interpret the patient's intended movements. This provided robust and intuitive control of ambulation--with seamless transitions between walking on level ground, stairs, and ramps--and of the ability to reposition the leg while the patient was seated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Amputation / methods
  • Amputees / rehabilitation
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Electromyography*
  • Humans
  • Leg / innervation*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Leg / surgery
  • Motorcycles
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery
  • Nerve Transfer*
  • Posture
  • Robotics*
  • Walking / physiology*