Brief biography of Dr. Raoul Bongers
Raoul Bongers is associate professor at the Center for Human Movement Sciences of the University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Groningen. His field of expertise is action-perception learning and development, which he applies to upper-limb rehabilitation using assistive technology. Part of his research focusses on upper limb prosthetics in which he develops rehabilitation programs for upper limb prosthetics using serious games.
People missing an arm or a hand often use a prosthesis, such as a simple opening and closing device or a modern multi-grip prosthetic hand. The goal of a prosthesis is to restore action possibilities of the upper extremity. However, a prosthesis is difficult to control, and it requires training to optimize its effective use. We study how rehabilitation training with prostheses controlled via myoelectric signals, can be improved using knowledge from the domains of motor control and motor learning applied to serious games. I will first demonstrate that skills learned in serious games improve skills with an actual prosthesis only in a task specific manner, i.e. if the tasks in the game resemble tasks performed with the prosthesis. Second, controlling hand opening and closing requires a different skill than toggling between grips of a multi-grip prosthesis when it is controlled via two myoelectric signals. Third, in multi-grip prosthetic hands controlled via pattern recognition using an array of myoelectric signals, different levels of feedback do not affect training effectivity. Training with a serious game makes EMG patterns more distinct but this does not translate to better control performance. Finally, I will discuss some basic limitations of the control of prostheses via myoelectic signals.