Electromyographic (EMG) processing is a vital step towards converting noisy muscle activation signals into robust features that can be decoded and applied to applications such as prosthetics, exoskeletons, and human-machine interfaces. Current state of the art processing methods involve collecting a dense set of features which are sensitive to many of the intra- and inter-subject variability ubiquitous in EMG signals. As a result, state of the art decoding methods have been unable to obtain subject independence. This paper presents a novel multiresolution muscle synergy (MRMS) feature extraction technique which represents a set of EMG signals in a sparse domain robust to the inherent variability of EMG signals. The robust features, which can be extracted in real time, are used to train a neural network and demonstrate a highly accurate and user-independent classifier. Leave-one-out validation testing achieves mean accuracy of 81.9± 3.9% and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), a measure of overall classifier performance over all possible thresholds, of 92.4± 8.9%. The results show the ability of sparse MRMS features to achieve subject independence in decoders, providing opportunities for large-scale studies and more robust EMG-driven applications.

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