Muscle Engagement Monitoring Using Self-Adhesive Elastic Nanocomposite Fabrics

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Sep 7;22(18):6768. doi: 10.3390/s22186768.


Insight into, and measurements of, muscle contraction during movement may help improve the assessment of muscle function, quantification of athletic performance, and understanding of muscle behavior, prior to and during rehabilitation following neuromusculoskeletal injury. A self-adhesive, elastic fabric, nanocomposite, skin-strain sensor was developed and validated for human movement monitoring. We hypothesized that skin-strain measurements from these wearables would reveal different degrees of muscle engagement during functional movements. To test this hypothesis, the strain sensing properties of the elastic fabric sensors, especially their linearity, stability, repeatability, and sensitivity, were first verified using load frame tests. Human subject tests conducted in parallel with optical motion capture confirmed that they can reliably measure tensile and compressive skin-strains across the calf and tibialis anterior. Then, a pilot study was conducted to assess the correlation of skin-strain measurements with surface electromyography (sEMG) signals. Subjects did biceps curls with different weights, and the responses of the elastic fabric sensors worn over the biceps brachii and flexor carpi radialis (i.e., forearm) were well-correlated with sEMG muscle engagement measures. These nanocomposite fabric sensors were validated for monitoring muscle engagement during functional activities and did not suffer from the motion artifacts typically observed when using sEMGs in free-living community settings.

Keywords: electromyography; graphene; health monitoring; kinesiology tape; movement; physical performance; skin; strain sensor; wearable.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Nanocomposites*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Resin Cements*


  • Adhesives
  • Resin Cements