What is sEMG?
The human body is a complicated network of neural pathways. For any movement, and for us to be able to interact with the world around us, the messages from the brain need to be successfully delivered to the muscles. Detecting and deciphering how the brain controls movement has continued to develop over the past years. A common way to assess human movement, and the contribution of different muscles towards force generation, is to use surface electromyography (sEMG or EMG). EMG is an experimental technique that involves the recording and analysis of the myoelectric signals formed by the physiological variations in the state of the muscle fibre membranes. By gaining insight into the status of muscular excitation, researchers, clinicians, sports practitioners, and engineers have been able to determine:
- The level of muscular effort involved – gained from assessing the overall EMG signal amplitude.
- Co-ordination between muscles – assessed by the activation timings of muscles.
- The effects of muscle fatigue – an exploration of the frequency component of the EMG signal.
- Neural control strategies – how is the brain adapting to training or external stimuli.