Convolutional networks outperform linear decoders in predicting EMG from spinal cord signals

Yi Guo, Sinan Gok, Mesut Sahin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Advanced algorithms are required to reveal the complex relations between neural and behavioral data. In this study, forelimb electromyography (EMG) signals were reconstructed from multi-unit neural signals recorded with multiple electrode arrays (MEAs) from the corticospinal tract (CST) in rats. A six-layer convolutional neural network (CNN) was compared with linear decoders for predicting the EMG signal. The network contained three session-dependent Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) feature layers and three Gamma function layers were shared between sessions. Coefficient of determination (R2) values over 0.2 and correlations over 0.5 were achieved for reconstruction within individual sessions in multiple animals, even though the forelimb position was unconstrained for most of the behavior duration. The CNN performed visibily better than the linear decoders and model responses outlasted the activation duration of the rat neuromuscular system. These findings suggest that the CNN model implicitly predicted short-term dynamics of skilled forelimb movements from neural signals. These results are encouraging that similar problems in neural signal processing may be solved using variants of CNNs defined with simple analytical functions. Low powered firmware can be developed to house these CNN solutions in real-time applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number689
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 17 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Artificial neural network
  • Convolutional neural network
  • Corticospinal tract
  • Machine learning
  • Microelectrode array
  • Neural signal decoding
  • Signal processing


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