History of Myoelectric Devices

The first myoelectric prosthesis was created between 1944-1948 by Reinhold Reiter, a physics student at Munich University. Reiter recog­nized that to work properly, the device needed to obtain maximum information from the myoelectric signal.  The technology has, over the past 50 years, moved from single muscle control of a single prosthesis function to more complex muscle group activity control of multifunction prostheses. Central to these changes have been developments in the means of extracting information from the myoelectric signal.

Later work expanded the concept of myoelectric control to orthoses for upper extremity impairment. By supporting research in 1990, the VA promoted and inspired development for a future myoelectric orthosis that could be of benefit to Veterans that have upper extremity impairment.  In 2006, work in myoelectric upper extremity orthoses at MIT was commercialized resulting in the development of the Myo­Pro myoelectric elbow-wrist-hand orthosis (EWHO).



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