Transformer-based Hand Gesture Recognition via High-Density EMG Signals: From Instantaneous Recognition to Fusion of Motor Unit Spike Trains

Designing efficient and labor-saving prosthetic hands requires powerful hand gesture recognition algorithms that can achieve high accuracy with limited complexity and latency. In this context, the paper proposes a compact deep learning framework referred to as the CT-HGR, which employs a vision transformer network to conduct hand gesture recognition using highdensity sEMG (HD-sEMG) signals. The attention mechanism in the proposed model identifies similarities among different data segments with a greater capacity for parallel computations and addresses the memory limitation problems while dealing with inputs of large sequence lengths. CT-HGR can be trained from scratch without any need for transfer learning and can simultaneously extract both temporal and spatial features of HD-sEMG data. Additionally, the CT-HGR framework can perform instantaneous recognition using sEMG image spatially composed from HD-sEMG signals. A variant of the CT-HGR is also designed to incorporate microscopic neural drive information in the form of Motor Unit Spike Trains (MUSTs) extracted from HD-sEMG signals using Blind Source Separation (BSS). This variant is combined with its baseline version via a hybrid architecture to evaluate potentials of fusing macroscopic and microscopic neural drive information. The utilized HD-sEMG dataset involves 128 electrodes that collect the signals related to 65 isometric hand gestures of 20 subjects. The proposed CT-HGR framework is applied to 31.25, 62.5, 125, 250 ms window sizes of the above-mentioned dataset utilizing 32, 64, 128 electrode channels. The average accuracy over all the participants using 32 electrodes and a window size of 31.25 ms is 86.23%, which gradually increases till reaching 91.98% for 128 electrodes and a window size of 250 ms. The CT-HGR achieves accuracy of 89.13% for instantaneous recognition based on a single frame of HD-sEMG image.

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