The application of surface electromyography (sEMG) technique for muscle fatigue studies is gaining importance in the field of clinical rehabilitation and sports medicine. These sEMG signals are highly nonstationary and exhibit scale-invariant self-similarity structure. The fractal analysis can estimate the scale invariance in the form of fractal dimension (FD) using monofractal (global single FD) or multifractal (local varying FD) algorithms. A comprehensive study of sEMG signal for muscle fatigue using both multifractal and monofractal FD features have not been established in the literature. In this work, an attempt has been made to differentiate sEMG signals recorded nonfatigue and fatigue conditions using monofractal and multifractal algorithms, and machine learning methods. For this purpose, sEMG signals have been recorded from biceps brachii muscles of fifty eight healthy subjects using a standard protocol. The signals of nonfatigue and fatigue region were subjected to eight monofractal (Higuchi, Katz, Petrosian, Sevcik, box counting, multi-resolution length, Hurst and power spectrum density) and two multifractal (detrended fluctuating and detrended moving average) algorithms and 28 FD features were extracted. The features were ranked using conventional and genetic algorithms, and a subset of FD features were further subjected to Naïve Bayes (NB), Logistic Regression (LR) and Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) classifiers. The results show that all fractal features are statistically significant. The classification accuracy using feature subset of conventional method is observed to be from 83% to 88%. The highest accuracy of 93.96% was achieved using genetic algorithm and LR classifier combination. The result demonstrated that the performance of multifractal FD features to be more suitable for sEMG signals as compared to monofractal FD features. The fractal analysis of sEMG signals appears to be a very promising biomarker for muscle fatigue classification and can be extended to detection of fatigue onset in varied neuromuscular conditions.

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