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[How-To] Muscular Load Add-on | Data Processing

Introduction

A good challenge starts with a pertinent question and fortunately our life is filled with excellent questions, making our world challenging.

We will start this discussion with a sequence of simple but valuable thoughts:
Can you imagine a world without people smiling or Usain Bolt running?
It is difficult but, if you feel that is possible, think about your favourite book, written long years ago, or the beautiful painting that you contemplated on the Museum.
Probably now you are facing more difficulties ;)

But, what links all the previous activities and why am I referring them ?
Many answers are possible, but the one that is relevant for us is muscles. In fact if you cannot imagine your life without some of these activities we proved that living without muscles is a challenge that anyone should face and a boring world that anyone deserve.

The previous examples are mainly recreational, however, muscle activity can be even more relevant on working environments where physical actions are essential.
Keeping our muscles healthy is one of the main concerns of Ergometry, together with the motorisation of muscular performance.

For supporting Ergometrists, PLUX developed the Ergo Researcher Kit, where data from 8 to 24 muscles can be collected simultaneously and in a totally synchronised way.

This kit includes a signal processing add-on called "Ergoplux Muscular Load".

On the following sections it will be presented the basic steps that should be followed in order to extract useful information from "Ergoplux Muscular Load" add-on.

Experimental Requirements

Before starting processing data we need to acquire our signals. The following steps may be a reasonable guide for this task:
1. Pair Ergoplux device with your computer (Pairing a Device at Windows 10 [biosignalsplux]);
2. Execute OpenSignals software;
3. Configure your device and start an EMG acquisition from the muscles under analysis (Signal Acquisition [OpenSignals]);
4. At the beginning of the acquisition help and request your voluntary to execute a sequence of three Maximum Voluntary Contractions following the SENIAM "Clinical Test" directives accordingly to the muscle under analysis.
On the following animation we show how to access these directives for the Biceps brachii muscle, but the web navigation procedure is identical for other muscles that you may want to analyse
biosignals | seniam electrode placement directives
5. After executing the set of three MVC's start the experimental protocol;
6. Stop the Acquisition;
Steps 3 to 6 are graphically illustrated on the animation below
biosignals | device configuration and mvc determination procedure
7. Store the acquired signals on your local disk (Store Files after Acquisition [OpenSignals]).

Processing Stage - Preparation

With the following steps you will be able to access "Muscular Load" Add-On.
1. Open the acquired signal on the "Play" mode of OpenSignals ([Load Signals after Acquisition OpenSignals);
2. Access "Muscular Load" add-on.
biosignals | opening muscularload plugin on opensignals

Previously to the processing step description, it is important to have a quick theoretical background about the processing methodology, which you can access at https://www.biosignalsplux.com/forum/discussion/20/notes-the-theory-behind-muscle-load-add-on?new=1

Processing Stage - Using the Add-On

Let's get into the real processing steps :)
1. Select the acquisition segment that contains the three MVC's;
biosignals | selection of mvc segment
2. Press the "MVC Button" on the graphical user interface to ensure that the algorithm can generate an Amplitude Probability Distribution Function (APDF) for the maximum effort conditions [see more information about APDF here];
biosignals | determination of the amplitude probability function
3. Select the acquisition segment where your experimental protocol was executed;
biosignals | selection of the time segment linked with the test procedure
4. Click on "APDF Button" to generate the APDF function of the test protocol.
biosignals | generation of apdf function for the testing data

As you can see on the animation we are outside the Warning and Danger zone during our test.
Additionally to this intuitive graphical result we have access to some quantitative results, namely the percentual time interval where the muscular load is equal or less than 10, 50 or 90 % of the MVC.
biosignals | presentation of qualitative and quantitative results

The obtained results state that:
* During 2 % of the total acquisition time the muscle load was below 10 % MVC;
* During 5 % of the total acquisition time the muscle load was below 50 % MVC;
* During 35 % of the total acquisition time the muscle load was below 90 % MVC.

These results can be exported into a .pdf report.
biosignals | exporting results to a .pdf report

This processing tool is very practical, intuitive and robust. You have a all new world that you can explore by yourself ! :)

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