"Music, not noise." This is the revelation made by Dr. Adam Rubin, when first being fitted with a myoelectric prosthetic arm. His clinician had asked him to command the muscles in his amputated arm to make a certain movement: a fist. After a few minutes, Dr. Rubin was able to transmit thoughts for what to him represented this action. His EMG spiked, and he saw the result of his thought become inscribed in the technical language his new arm could understand. However, the clinician's response came from a different angle. "That signal is probably just noise," the clinician explained, asking Dr. Rubin to please try again. But as Dr. Rubin pointed out "To you that may seem like noise, but to me that is music." What Dr. Rubin had realized was that in a sense his new opportunity to be fitted with a myoelectric prosthetic wasn't just a chance at regaining motion, but a chance to reinvent how the human body communicates with a machine interface. Why should the movement signals that he used to use to move a pinky now still have to move a pinky? In fact, why should these signals even need to control movement specifically? A whole world of possibilities opens up with the implication of this training process, and Haptik steps in to streamline and explore different aspects of this training process.

What it does

Haptik is a haptic feedback system designed to train prosthetic users based on other senses besides sight. After consulting users and conducting preliminary research, we found that a common method of training for myoelectric prostheses involves the use of a virtual reality software like MyoBoy. These softwares offer the patient a virtual model of a prosthetic hand that they can then practice controlling with their EMG signals. However, there has been some debate over the best ways to improve "EMG skill" or the ability of the user to control desired movements with their EMG potentials. Haptik can improve EMG skill by providing another connection for the patient to their desired prothetic movements besides sight alone. In its early stages, Haptik will vibrate when certain desired positions are reached by the patient. The idea is that this associated stimulation of touch will strengthen the users connection to that movement and thus enhance prosthetic training.

How we built it

We used available hardward such as the Arduino Uno, a ECG heart patch, and circuit materials to create our own EMG from scratch. We then used this EMG to develop what our idea would look like using MATLAB and the Arduino IDE.

Challenges we ran into

The fact that we had to create our own EMG was a huge roadblock in our design process. We had to spend a large amount of time just figuring out how to do this when we could have just used a pre-made EMG had one been available.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Tearing off one of our teammates ECG patches and cannabalizing it's electrodes to create one of our first EMG prototypes.

What we learned


What's next for Haptik

Further development of the EMG and its connection to different types of haptic feedback.

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