Electrotactile feedback based muscle fatigue alleviation for hand manipulation

Kairu Li, Yu Zhou, Dalin Zhou, Yinfeng Fang, Junyou Yang, Honghai Liu

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Tactile feedback is beneficial to improve the hand prosthesis performance, alleviate phantom pain, reduce muscle fatigue, etc. During the manipulation process, muscle fatigue not only causes discomfort to prosthesis users but also disturbs the surface electromyographic (sEMG)-based motion recognition, which significantly deteriorates the prosthesis functional performance. Efforts have been made to explore appropriate signal processing algorithms which could be less influenced by muscle fatigue. However, few studies concern how to alleviate muscle fatigue directly. Thus, this study proposes a novel method to avoid excessive muscle fatigue based on electrotactile feedback. A potable electrotactile stimulator is developed with adjustable parameters, multiple channels and wireless communication. It is implemented in a virtual hand grasping platform driven by sEMG signals to investigate the impact of tactile feedback on muscle fatigue. Experimental results show a higher success rate of grasping with electrotactile feedback than that with no feedback. Moreover, compared with grasp in the no feedback condition, there is an observable decrease of sEMG intensity when grasping a heavy object with electrotactile feedback, despite a comparable performance on the light and medium objects in both feedback conditions. It indicates that tactile feedback helps to alleviate muscle fatigue caused by excessive muscle contraction, especially when large strength is needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Humanoid Robotics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2020


  • electrotactile stimulator
  • grasping force control
  • muscle fatigue
  • tactile feedback


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