EMPress: Practical Hand Gesture Classification with Wrist-Mounted EMG and Pressure Sensing

Jess McIntosh, Charlie McNeill, Mike C Fraser, Frederic Kerber, Markus Löchtefeld, Antonio Krüger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

89 Citations (Scopus)
4408 Downloads (Pure)


Practical wearable gesture tracking requires that sensors align with existing ergonomic device forms. We show that combining EMG and pressure data sensed only at the wrist can support accurate classification of hand gestures. A pilot study with unintended EMG electrode pressure variability led to exploration of the approach in greater depth. The Empress technique senses both finger movements and rotations around the wrist and forearm, covering a wide range of gestures, with an overall 10-fold cross validation classification accuracy of 96%. We show that EMG is especially suited to sensing finger movements, that pressure is suited to sensing wrist and forearm rotations, and their combination is significantly more
accurate for a range of gestures than either technique alone. The technique is well suited to existing wearable device forms such as smart watches that are already mounted on the wrist.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'16)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016
Event34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016: chi4good - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
Conference number: 34


Conference34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
Abbreviated titleCHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose
OtherFor those who are finding out about CHI – pronounced kai – for the first time, CHI is a place to see, discuss and learn about the future of how people interact with technology. At any minute you might experience a new gesture interface for tablets, learn how developing countries use mobile phones for maternal health, play soccer against someone 3000 miles away, or debate the future of online education. You’ll meet with top researchers from universities, corporations and startups from across the world, as well as the brightest student scientists, designers, and researchers. It’s a place to find your community, to talk about your toughest problems, and to find your next job.
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  • Hand Gestures
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Pressure
  • Force Sensitive Resistors
  • Practical Wearable Device Design


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