This paper reports the variability in muscle recruitment strategies among individuals who operate a non-powered lifting device for general assembly (GA) tasks. Support vector machine (SVM) was applied to the classification of motion states of operators using electromyography (EMG) signals collected from a total of 15 upper limb, lower limb, shoulder, and torso muscles. By comparing the classification performance and muscle activity features, variability in muscle recruitment strategy was observed from lower limb and torso muscles, while the recruitment strategies of upper limb and shoulder muscles were relatively consistent across subjects. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to identify key muscles that are highly correlated with body movements. Selected muscles at the wrist joint, ankle joint and scapula are considered to have greater significance in characterizing the muscle recruitment strategies than other investigated muscles. PCA loading factors also indicate the existence of body motion redundancy during typical pick-and-place tasks.

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