We have developed and are evaluating an innovative new EMG switch called the Emego which senses muscle activity and has the potential to give people with severe physical disabilities control and independence using AAC and EC equipment.
The project successfully evaluated a switch that uses Electromyography (EMG) technology through clinical trials. An EMG switch can detect small electrical signals produced by muscle activity and can use this as a way of controlling assistive technology devices such as communication aids. The EMG switch has the potential to provide a control method for individuals with severe physical disabilities by them twitching even the smallest of muscle movements.
The Emego uses ‘dry’ sensors that do not use gels and is completely wireless. Accomplished clinical trials have shown that the switch can be worn on several muscle locations giving a repeatable and reliable signal.
As partners in this project with GSPK Design, Barnsley Hospital’s Assistive Technology Team and Devices for Dignity – CATCH have been running two studies to firstly help develop and then evaluate the performance of this device.
The first study involved a small number of potential end users – individuals with severe physical disabilities who use assistive technology such as a communication aid. This study allowed users to try initial iterations of the device and take part in interviews to feed back into the design for the commercial release of the Emego developed by GSPK Design.
The second, larger scale, trial is now underway and plans to evaluate how well the device performs – in other words how well it detects muscle activations and how well it could be used by individuals with severe physical disabilities as a control method.
Emego is now a fully compliant medical class I device and more information is available at emego.co.uk