A new approach of inducing proprioceptive illusion by transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Neurotraumas or neurodegenerative diseases often result in proprioceptive deficits, which makes it challenging for the nervous system to adapt to the compromised sensorimotor conditions. Also, in human machine interactions, such as prosthesis control and teleoperation, proprioceptive mismatch limits accuracy and intuitiveness of controlling active joints in robotic agents. To address these proprioceptive deficits, several invasive and non-invasive approaches like vibration, electrical nerve stimulation, and skin stretch have been introduced. However, proprioceptive modulation is still challenging as the current solutions have limitations in terms of effectiveness, usability, and consistency. In this paper, we propose a new way of modulating proprioception using transcutaneous electrical stimulation. We hypothesized that transcutaneous electrical stimulation on elbow flexor muscles will induce illusion of elbow joint extension. METHOD: Eight healthy human subjects participated in the study to test the hypothesis. Transcutaneous electrodes were placed on different locations targeting elbow flexor muscles on human subjects and experiments were conducted to identify the best locations for electrode placement, and best electrical stimulation parameters, to maximize induced proprioceptive effect. Arm matching experiments and Pinocchio illusion test were performed for quantitative and qualitative analysis of the observed effects. One-way repeated ANOVA test was performed on the data collected in arm matching experiment for statistical analysis. RESULTS: We identified the best location for transcutaneous electrodes to induce the proprioceptive illusion, as one electrode on the muscle belly of biceps brachii short head and the other on the distal myotendinous junction of brachioradialis. The results for arm-matching and Pinocchio illusion tests showed that transcutaneous electrical stimulation using identified electrode location and electrical stimulation parameters evoked the illusion of elbow joint extension for all eight subjects, which supports our hypothesis. On average, subjects reported 6.81 angular illusion of elbow joint extension in arm-matching tests and nose elongated to 1.78height in Pinocchio illusion test. CONCLUSIONS: Transcutaneous electrical stimulation,applied betweenthe the synergisticelbow flexor muscles, consistently modulated elbow jointproprioceptionwiththe illusion of elbow joint extension, which has immense potential to be translated into various real-world applications, including neuroprosthesis, rehabilitation, teleoperation, mixed reality, and etc.

published proceedings

  • J Neuroeng Rehabil

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Rangwani, R., & Park, H.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Rangwani, Rohit||Park, Hangue

publication date

  • May 2021