This study has developed a technique for identifying the presence of muscle fatigue based on the spatial changes of the normalised mutual information (NMI) between multiple high density surface electromyography (HD-sEMG) channels. Muscle fatigue in the tibialis anterior (TA) during isometric contractions at 40% and 80% maximum voluntary contraction levels was investigated in ten healthy participants (Age range: 21 to 35 years; Mean age = 26 years; Male = 4, Female = 6). HD-sEMG was used to record 64 channels of sEMG using a 16 by 4 electrode array placed over the TA. The NMI of each electrode with every other electrode was calculated to form an NMI distribution for each electrode. The total NMI for each electrode (the summation of the electrode’s NMI distribution) highlighted regions of high dependence in the electrode array and was observed to increase as the muscle fatigued. To summarise this increase, a function, M(k), was defined and was found to be significantly affected by fatigue and not by contraction force. The technique discussed in this study has overcome issues regarding electrode placement and was used to investigate how the dependences between sEMG signals within the same muscle change spatially during fatigue.
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