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Real-Time Digital EMG/EEG Signal Processing in a Human-Computer Interface for Users with Severe Motor Disabilities

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"Real-Time Digital EMG/EEG Signal Processing in a Human-Computer Interface for Users with Severe Motor Disabilities", (1999)
Barreto, A. B. , Scott Scargle and Malek Adjouadi

ABSTRACT: A significant population of handicapped individuals cannot operate standard personal computers with common input devices currently available, such as the mouse or keyboard. We have developed an alternate, DSP-based input system that can be used even by individuals with severe motor disabilities. This real -time DSP system utilizes electromyographic (EMG) biosignals from cranial muscles and electroencephalographic (EEG) biosignals from the cerebrum's occipital lobe, which are transformed into controls for 2-dimensional cursor movement, the Left-Click (Enter) command, and an ON/OFF switch for the cursor-control functions. This Human-Computer Interface (HCI) system processes amplified EMG signals from three electrodes placed on the sides and front of the user's head. In addition, the systems processes one amplified EEG signal from an electrode placed on the back of the user's head. Real-time Power Spectral Density (PSD) estimation is performed on the four input channels and an innovative classification algorithm, based on selected PSD accumulations, are performed on line by a TMS320C31-based data acquisition and signal processing board, hosted by the personal computer for which "hands-off" cursor control is sought. According to the evaluation of the four input signals the system outputs serial codes that emulate the protocol used by a hand-held mouse to cause the displacement of the cursor in different directions and different speeds, as well as the "Left-button-click" operation. The TTL serial output of the DSP board is conditioned by an RS-232 driver chip for direct connection into the serial port of the PC. An "A/B switch" allows the selective operation of the cursor through the DSP HCI system or through the normal hand-held mouse. . The result is an affordable DSP-based system that, when combined with an on-screen keyboard, enables the user to fully operate a computer without using any extremities .