APPLICATION INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT OF CAPACITY FOR MYOELECTRIC CONTROL
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There is a growing need for objective and quantitative tools to measure the outcome of assistive technologies (AT), such as powered prostheses and communication aides for people with disabilities [1,2]. The most typical types of assessment are task completion tests or performance tests, where the user performs specific tasks relating to practical daily activities and the time required for task completion is used as the assessment. The main purposes for such outcome measurements are the assessment of patient improvements, the selection of appropriate AT devices for patients and the evaluation of newly developed AT devices. The appropriate choice of an assessment method requires careful consideration, because assessment results can be influenced by many factors. For instance, applications to AT device selection, where a therapist would investigate the outcome differences for different AT devices; assessment results may be influenced primarily by task proficiency, which thus makes the appropriate selection of an AT device difficult. This paper introduces a basic form of assessment that is both task- and applicationindependent, which focuses on the operation capacity of an input device to an AT. In most AT devices, single or multiple switches are widely accepted as the de facto standard input devices, so the proposed method evaluates the operation capabilities of single switches. At the same time, there are also a number of research projects that are seeking to develop augmentative and alternative input methods for AT devices. However, because of the wide variety of impairments, certain restrictions still remain on increasing the number of candidate input methods. Accordingly, we are working on general purpose myoelectric interfaces that are compatible with various commercial AT devices. Preliminary evaluations of the myoelectric interface are also presented in this report.
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Copyright 2002, 2005 and 2008, The University of New Brunswick.
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