Electromyography or EMG measures electrical signals from the nerves and muscles. This can give valuable insight in the health of the subject’s muscles and can be used to detect damage to nerves. The two main applications for these electrodes are in rehabilitation, anaesthesia, and professional sports.
Injuries and certain pathogens can cause damage to the nerves. By using EMG electrodes to analyse the signals sent by the nervous system to the muscles, medical personnel can get an idea of where the nerve damage is. This can help them formulate proper treatment options and the areas which are most in need of rehabilitation.
EMG electrodes are also used in anaesthesia care. The saying that everyone is unique is especially true when it comes to their response to anaesthesia medicine. A dose which sedates one patient, might only cause slight drowsiness in another. One of the best and fastest ways of checking what the right dosage of anaesthesia for a patient is, is by checking how well the nervous system responds to stimulation. By combining EMG electrodes with electrical stimulation techniques, medical professionals are able to fine tune the dosage a patient gets.
EMG electrodes are also used by professional athletes. EMG measurements can give a lot of information about the current state of their muscles. It does not just detect injuries, but can also detect muscle fatigue, which is a key metric in athletic performance. Knowing when your body needs rest or when you are ready for peak performance can be invaluable information for an athlete.
Screentec is part of a European consortium that aims to bring about new wearable technology. By using fully printed transistors on fabrics, we are aiming to make the next generation of smart clothing. The WEARPLEX technology will combine EMG and FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) within the same electrode.
The transistors will allow us to change between EMG recording and FES stimulation using the same electrodes. In addition, this process will be controlled through software, so an app can tell certain areas to record or stimulate. This has a lot of potential applications, from medical rehabilitation, to clothing that can act as a smart controller for many different objects and applications.