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Communication Systems (Other) Paper ID 1397

Design and Implementation of Real-Time Wireless Electromyography System


Kittikhun Thongpull, Pornchai Phukpattaranont, Booncharoen Wongkittisuksa Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand, 90112 1 E-mail :

Abstract- In this work we have designed and evaluated the real-time wireless electromyography (EMG) device. The device was designed based on wireless sensor network and processing on 16 bit microcontroller. The main study of this work is EMG signals streaming via wireless using audio signal compression technique. We implemented PCM and ADPCM coding to reduce number of data transfer. We considered on bandwidth requirement, processing load, power consumption and life-time of the device. From experimentation, the system has operated properly with three data streaming methods. 4-bit ADPCM have highest compression with 60% reduction from raw data. The device life-time for continuous streaming was extended to 12.8 Hr. Keyword: Electromyography, Data Streaming, PCM, ADPCM

II. W IRELESS EMG STREAMING A. Data compression Data compression has become an importance issue in our purpose especially for efficient data transmission, the limited bandwidth of the low-rate radio transceiver, compression was crucial to transmit the EMG signal over the wireless channel. Several compression codecs developed in past years have used such a model to reduce the size of the signal. Techniques for EMG signal compression fall mainly into two categories: direct compression and feature extraction. The first one is compressing directly from input data. And the second is computing data set in some duration to detect the signals then determine characteristics of the signals. This type is highly reducing data to transfer however the output is not signal waveform. The aim of this work is to present a real-time wireless EMG signals streaming system. The acquired data must transfer continuously. Thus, widely employed compression methods algorithms such as techniques based on direct compression (Pulse Code Modulation: PCM, Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation: ADPCM) was implemented in this work. B. Wireless data transmission The wireless networking in our system is based on a low rate ISM band 2.4 GHz radio transceiver and a proprietary protocol which allows the patch to work in a wireless personal area network. The transceiver describes wireless technology that is designed for communication among wireless devices within a short range of each other, using very low power (most likely battery operated), and with low data rate requirements. The one of purpose of this work is system operation as multiuser and multi-device so its communication intended to radio channel complexity and collisions. The multiple-access mechanism has been required. The TDMA[4] has a simple mechanism to deal with multiple accesses. The TDMA arranges the transmission of each data packet in a separated time slot to avoid data collision. Each signal is assigned to a specified time slot in advance, which needs an algorithm to script the time slots for multiple accesses. The slotted ALOHA [5] modified from the ALOHA divides the time into several time slots. Each time slot is not specified to any user but is available for all users. If two or more users transmit their data in the same time slot, a data collision occurs. The data will be



Electromyography (EMG) has been widely used in the rehabilitation and human interfacing which invasiveness and easiness [1]. However, subjects are physically restricted with the wired EMG device because of wires connection from electrodes. Moreover, this device can be affected by noise resulting from the movement of the wire. Wireless transmission is a key to eliminate the limitation in wired system. There are many studies on wireless EMG transmission. Wireless sEMG electrodes[2] was developed with built-in transmitter, which derives the signals without the need for skin preparation. The Compact-size and Wireless Surface EMG measurement system [3] with high SNR can be useful without noise caused by the movement of wires. The one of challenge to realize a wireless EMG system is a creation of wireless EMG sensors that serve consuming low power (i.e., sufficient battery life). The majority of the power used by the wireless device is the radio signal transmission. In addition, the implementations of signal-compression capabilities can reduce the number of data to transmit via radio and also enable the real-time data streaming. Therefore, a system that combines EMG measuring communications with signal compression has developed. We designed and evaluated the real-time wireless EMG streaming system by applying compression technique. The developed system was tested operation for real signal from volunteers. The result of testing was examined and we found the system could operate with longer life-time using the signal compression.

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re-transmitted in a different time slot which is assigned by a random sequence generator. Since the amount t of physiological signals are not so large that the slotted AL LOHA would be suitable, even though lots of signals ought to be transmitted in the same time. The slotted ALOHA was app plied in this work with TDMA mechanism. III. SYSTEM DESIGN The proposed system consists of two ele ements: a Sensor Device and a Receiver Device. The form mer, continuously acquires an analog EMG signal and generate es its compressed data. The digital data are sent to the Receiver r Device over the wireless medium. The signal is reconstructe ed and sent to a monitoring PC. The structure of our EMG stre eaming system is shown in Figure 1. We also describe designe ed system details in two part, hardware and software.

connected directly to the MCU via a 3-wire SPI interface, and it can establish a communication at a a maximum air speed up to 250 Kbps. Signal Interface part has operated d to get EMG signals from human and modify them before sen nd to Microcontroller. The EMG Amplifier is based on precise e instrumentation amplifier designed for bipolar electrode arran ngement. First stage, input amplifier for EMG measurement is represented by single chip instrument amplifier INA129 which w suites for portable medical instruments in order to its i small size, low supply voltage, high common mode rejection (CMRR) and rail-to-rail output. This work chooses Surf face EMG technique for measure EMG signals. The surface potentials measured on the skin may vary from V to mV. For this reason EMG amplifier is designed with gain 60 dB. Th he human body is easy to receive 50 Hz from 220 V. main power p line as well. So, we used notch filter to reject the powe er line noise. Output of the instrumentation amplifier is equipp ped by an active band pass filter, with pass band at 10 Hz 300 0 Hz. The whole EMG streaming dev vice is battery powered by Lithium-Polymer accumulator. The block diagram is shown in the Fig. 2 and the completed Sensor Device board is shown in the Fig. 3

re Figure 1 Purposed system architectur

A. Hardware develop the EMG The embedded platform that we used to d ajor parts consist streaming device is constructed form three ma of Microcontroller, signal interface and wireless communication. This device is equipped with h the NXP ARM7 LPC2103 Micro Controller Unit (MCU), whi ich is a 16/32 bit processor featuring a maximum processing sp peed of 72 MIPS, 32 KBytes of FLASH ROM and 8 KBytes of RAM. The processor has high data-rate sampling capabil lities provided by 16 Analog-to-Digitals 10-bit channels workin ng up to 400,000 samples per second. The wireless communication relies on CC25 500 radio device. The CC2500 module is a single chip 2.4GH Hz RF transceiver with an micro striped antenna. For this work, , the device does not require a ZigBee or IEEE802.15.4 netw working layer to implement point-to-point communication. The features provided by the integrated radio controller w were composed of typical MAC and physical functions wi ith CRC-16 bit generation, clear channel assessment (CCA), and radio signal energy detection. The radio module is plac ce on board and

Figure 2 Hardware block diagra am of Sensor Device

Figure 3 A completed Sensor S Device

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Communication Systems (Other)

B. Software architecture The communication system is based on two devices with different functionality ! the Sensor Device and the Receiver Device. The former one is responsible for acquiring, compressing and transmitting the EMG signal stream, while the receiver decompresses the stream and finally reconstructs the signal. Therefore, software tasks implemented on the both were different. The Sensor Device continuously acquires an analog EMG signal by the Analog-To-Digital Converter (ADC) and produces a compressed digital representation of the signal using coding technique that described in earlier section ! PCM and DPCM. When all the required compression steps have been performed, the resulting data stream is passed to the Packet Builder task. The final packet is built by combining with a suitable header. Finally, the transmission takes place and the packet is sent to the transceiver. After radio signal reaches Receiver Device, the first processing step occurring is the acquisition of the raw packet and its storage in the radio data buffer. At this step, the Decompression task is started. The sequence numbers are extracted from the header. Then, the EMG signal is reconstructed applying the selected decompression algorithm and the output data are sent to PC through serial port. The Operating System provides a basic network abstraction, naming active message that have a destination address, provide synchronous acknowledgement, and can be of variable length up to a fixed maximum size. The Sensor Device operate on a customized uC/OS-II[6] operating system with component that samples processes and transmits data packets. The radio component was programmed by the our developer specifically for CC2500 transceiver that can support bit rates all the way up to 200kbps. The radio copies data from the microcontroller using SPI. It offers a byte wise read/write interface for sending and receiving data. In this application, the ADC samples are accumulated before the radio is switched on and the transmission of the data packets takes place. A Receiver Device also operates on the same board components, like the Sensor Device but Signal Interface part not installed. Messages are broadcasted via a serial port to a PC. IV. SYSTEM EVALUATION After our designed system completed installation and programmed, the basic test for system operation was started operation in real experimentation by volunteers. Figure X shows the PC display of a trace of EMG signal that was sampled at 1000Hz. The output EMG signal is clear and of high quality (no visible noise superimposed on the EMG signal). The signal was continuously plot on the trace and related to muscle movement. The system was operating correctly. In additional, the evaluation for our approach of bandwidth requirement, power consumption and device life time for describe the system characteristic. These may help to know the limitations of the system and would help to choose the appropriate application.

A. Streaming Analysis This experimentation led to determine EMG signals bandwidth usage on radio communication. Testing scheme has three portions as we mention on coding technique PCM, DPCM and also RAW data streaming. The EMG signal acquire by ADC with 10bit resolution and sampling rate at 1000samples/Sec and coding configuration for PCM we use 8bit A-Law PCM finally ADPCM have 8-bit and 4-bit quantizer in coding. Before data sent via radio, packet builder task occurred to insert signals data train to packet also streaming header added into it. Streaming header is dataset contain its details of stream data such as Coding type, Image splitting pattern, Coding Command, time position etc. The packet header size is depending on coding technique larger size is impacting to increasing the number of data to transfer and energy consumption. The results of bandwidth usage comparing of various streaming methods as in table I. RAW data streaming has highest data rate and packet rate also. Packet rate is a number of packets to transfer streaming data in a second could determine by equation (1), Data _ Rate is a rate of data after signal encoded, Packet _ Size is pay load of data per packet in this work one packet could contain 210 Byte of data and Stream _ Header is a streaming header. A Larger amount of packet rate is effecting to the higher radio activities and lead to more energy consumption. The Error describes the average of error of decoded and reconstructed signal at Receiver Device compare with signal acquired by ADC on Sensor Device. The lowest data usage coding technique is 4bit ADPCM with 60% reduction from raw data however there also led to highest error.


Data _ Rate(kB / s) Packet _ Size Stream _ Header


At a 1Khz sampling rate, a new radio packet are generated using approached compression technique every TDMA slots depending on Packet Rate of each coding technique. For example, 8-bit A-Law PCM requires 5 packets per second to transfer signal stream therefore it takes 5 TDMA slot. From this point, we have estimate the maximum number of Sensor Device in the network by proportional of Packet Rate and available TDMA slot. The available TDMA slot in this work is 40 slots per second this value related to parameters of RF timing of CC2500 transceiver described in [7].
Data rate (kbps) 10-bit RAW data 8-bit A-Law PCM 8-bit ADPCM 4-bit ADPCM Packet Header (byte) Packet Rate (packet/sec) Error. (%)

10 8 8 4

10 18 32 36

5.95 4.95 5.00 2.55

0.8 12.3 9.7 34.5

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Computation (instruction/sec)

Computation Power (mW)

Data Transferring Power(mW)

Total power usage(mW)

Average battery current(mA)

Lifetime (Hr)

10-bit RAW data 8-bit A-Law PCM 8-bit ADPCM 4-bit ADPCM

1,870,000 1,920,000 5,880,000 2,848,000

374.0 384.0 1176.0 569.6

1278.75 1063.51 1142.71 583.78

1652.8 1447.5 2318.7 1153.4 REFERENCES

500.83 438.64 702.64 349.51

8.99 10.26 6.40 12.88

B. Energy Analysis Table II is showing the time and energy consumption of the various compression types involved with the EMG streaming. The energy usage in two categories: computing and data transferring. The studies in [8] have defined the energy usage for instruction of ARM7TDMI microcontroller core. Therefore, we have estimated the Sensor Device energy consumes in order of its coding technique by number of instruction as shows in table II. Data Transfer process consumed energy value about 214.8 mW to transmit one data packet which contains 255 byte including protocol header, streaming header and streaming data. Without compression, each sample must be transmitted over the network consuming on average 1652.8 mW of 1000 samples. With 4-bit ADPCM compression, there was minimal power consumption, each sample including compression and transmission consumes on average 1153.4mW of 1000 samples resulting in a 30% energy saving when compared to transmission of raw signal. The measured lifetime based on current drawn from the Sensor Device. Using 4500mA/hr Lithium-polymer battery, the EMG streaming lifetime was 12.88hr longer than RAW streaming for 4hr, however the streaming lifetime of 8-bit ADPCM downed to 6.4hr affected by the complexity computation in compression process. The detailed of Sensor Device"s characteristic could help to choose appropriate streaming method considering on signal quality or life-time. V. SUMMARY We designed wireless EMG streaming system that able to operate as a real-time. By applying audio compression technique, which implemented based on existing methods for compressing EMG signals. The number of data to transfer was reduced due to the compression technique. 4-bit ADPCM has generated minimal compressed data which reduced 60% from raw signal and the packet rate also reduce to 2.55 packet/s. However, the minimal of data have affected highest signal error at 34.5%. from original signal. The power efficiency of the Sensor Device has been improved by a factor of 1.43. After taking 4-bit ADPCM the operated power dissipation and communications protocol overhead, a improvement in battery life can be extended to 12.88hr.



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